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Tea Party like its 1999!
April 1, 2013 - John Stack
The liars, and the disingenuous
The Tea Party this week showed that they really don’t walk the walk, while they talk the talk.
Budget reports for congressional members for the last quarter of 2012 came out. And the Tea Partiers have seemed to forget who they represent as soon as they are defeated. Among others, Allen West is a Tea Party favorite. Mean spririted, ideological politically, unbending and bombastic – he’s exactly what the Tea Party loves in their politicians. He spent his short time in office railing against the status quo, toeing the Tea Party line about not spending what we don’t need to. Keep an eye on my tax dollars! I mean, we wish all of our representatives kept an eye on our tax dollars – with projects like ‘the bridge to nowhere” and all the pork barrel spending. But, Tea Partiers are special. They seem to think no money should be spent ever it seems. To hear them tell it, all congressmen should have $15 per diem’s and expected to eat at Mickey Dees when on the taxpayer dime. Nice to talk the talk. But, when it comes down to taking care of yourself and your friends when you are voted out or lose an election? Pour any money you can find on their heads.
Each nationally elected office (Senate or House) has a certain amount of money as a budget for their staff and such. One would expect that quarter by quarter staff salaries would be approximately the same for any single office. Except when you are leaving office. In a little known fact, legislative staffers get ‘bonuses’ at the end of the year, usually based upon what is left over in the office budget. 15-16 percent is the typical increase (not called bonuses, but that’s what they are). The bonuses are equal opportunity –Republicans gave an average of 16.4% raises, and Democrats gave 15.1 percent bonuses. But the defeated Todd Akin and Allen West went to new levels. Both increased staffing salaries nearly 100% - or double – in the last quarter. Its ironic that 2 such ‘watchdogs’ of public spending decided to give away tons of money to their staffers, just because eit was lying around there doing nothing.
Now, both of these practices are repugnant. What other job do you get a monster bonus when you have been kicked out of the job? Secondly, why do these staffers get bonuses at all? The ‘bonuses’ are based upon what is left over in the budget. Tea Partiers and other government watchdog groups are always decrying that government isn’t run like a business. What business gives out bonuses at the end of the year to everyone because money wasn’t spent? A business that ends with extra money might choose to give some bonuses, but a good business will 1.) reward the best performers with bonuses 2.) Not give bonuses to bad performers 3.) either reinvest the surplus in the company or take the profit themselves.
To be fair, this is not just Republicans. In whatever year it is, the party or group that is defeated all give monster bonuses to staff when they are defeated with what is left over. This year, 9 of 10 were Republicans. In 2010, 17 of 20 were Democrats. Most of these were losing incumbents or retiring incumbents. Its just ironic(?) when your raison d'etre is to make sure money is spent only when and where it should, not to use up every last cent you can to pay off loyalists. Maybe the Tea Party should read Pogo more often "We have met the enemy...and he is us'.
Sarah Palin was a keynote speaker at CPAC – the yearly love fest for all that is right-wing nutjobbery and fringe elements of the Republican party. In her speech, she railed against consultants, telling the audience of sycophants that they needed ‘to get rid of the political consultants”. On her Sara PAC website she exhorts her minions to send her more money so that she can do battle with the party political consultants. But the Queen Tea Partier (Winker from Wasilla) did not get the chance to spend taxpayer money to staffers in a losing campaign. She just did the next best thing: she gave away most of her Sarah PAC money to consultants. Most of her PAC money came from individual donors (see links below). But, of 4.8 million spent by her PAC in 2012, $300,000 was spent on candidates, which is the primary reason for her having a PAC – to give money to TeaParty/Conservative candidates. But, $4.5 million was spent on …wait for it Liam…Consultants! Her chief political consultant – Tim Crawford – got more money as a consultant than all the candidates endorsed combined! Her PAC is literally created to raise money, and spend it on candidates. In the link below is the list of donors to her PAC – many many are for $250 and less, and many are listed as retired. I’m sure they love knowing that the money they spend is almost literally just used to keep the consultant business making more money for themselves. Not exactly a Ponzi scheme, but in a Ponzi scheme, you might actually get something out of it. Might as well just send your PAC contributions to your closest luxury car dealership and mark the money as ‘to be used by anyone who is a political consultant’.
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