Americans work damn hard for the little pay they receive, and for all that hard work they typically get less than two weeks of vacation days a year. Members of Congress, on the other hand, have unveiled a work schedule that millions of workers can only dream of.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced the release of the 2013 congressional calendar in November, and it looks like laziness is in vogue. That’s right, even as House Republicans portray the average American as lazy bottom feeders sucking off the government teat, they have given themselves an astonishing 239 days off this year. That means they will only work 126 days during a year when the nation has a multitude of issues to deal with.
So how does that stack up against the President, past Congresses, and most importantly, the American people?
According to a CNN report, American workers are currently receiving less vacation time than previously, only 12 days per year. Perhaps more interestingly, they are only taking 10 of those 12 days. Considering that many American companies don’t honor national holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving like they used to, and that even weekends have become work days, Americans could potentially work over 300 days a year. This is burdensome all by itself until you realize that members of Congress make $174,000 a year for working less than half that number of days. House Speaker John Boehner makes even more, pulling in $223,500. The average American, meanwhile, makes far less for working far more. According to mybudget360.com:
The latest Census data has the median household income in the US at $50,500,” and “one out of four US households are living with less than $25,000 per year in household income. This makes sense when we measure this up against Social Security data that has the median per capita worker income at $26,000 for 2010.
So while Americans are working themselves to the bone in order to just scrape by, John Boehner is able to spend 239 days tanning and tinkering with his golf swing. Doesn’t sound very fair does it?
It’s not uncommon for Congress to have such a calendar. House Democrats of the 111th Congress met 127 times in 2010 and 159 times in 2009 when Nancy Pelosi held the Speaker gavel. But, when you compare the 111th Congress to the Republican-dominated 112th Congress, you’ll find that Democrats were far more productive. The 2009 session of Congress consisted of 33 more days of work than the 2013 session has on its schedule. The 2010 session was one day longer. The 111th Congress was one of the most productive congresses since the height of the progressive era in the 1960s, taking up landmark health care, food safety, nuclear disarmament, equal pay for women, and gay rights legislation, just to name a few.
When Republicans took back the House in 2010 and began what they call ‘work’ in 2011, they would demonstrate what a bad Congress looks like. Although the 112th Congress worked 175 days and 153 days in 2011 and 2012 respectively, the 112 Congress passed a mere 219 bills and is now regarded as the least productive Congress since the 1940s. The point here is that Republicans worked more days in 112th Congress and yet were less productive. Since that’s the case, we can hardly expect more production on a 126 day calendar during which, as the Huffington Post reports, the House GOP will “enact no budget, no regular appropriations bills, nor other key legislation.” (That is, the House will pass bills that die in the Senate, Senate-passed bills will die in the House, and occasionally they will agree on naming a post office if such things still exist in 2014.) They will, however, take plenty of taxpayer-funded “fact-finding trips,” hold plenty of showboat hearings, and spend much of their time hawking for campaign contributions.” Basically, it sounds like Republicans are ignoring their duty to Americans and the country in order to prepare for elections that are two and four years away.
But let’s put the House Republican’s calendar in a different perspective, one that will make conservative heads explode.
Republicans across the country have whined about how many vacation days President Obama has taken since he took office in January 2009. They have depicted him as a lazy person who doesn’t work hard for America because he supposedly hates us all. All those accusations and whining can stop now. According to a report by Hawaii News Now, President Obama has taken less vacation days since taking office than Republicans plan to take during just one year. In fact, Republicans are taking three times the number of vacation days in one year than President Obama has taken in four and twice the number that Obama is projected to take by the end of 2016.
Hawaii News Now reports:
Since assuming office in January 2009, President Obama has taken all or part of 83 vacation days, according to CBS News White House correspondent, Mark Knoller. At that rate, Mr. Obama will be on par to take about 168 vacation days during his eight-year tenure.
If you do the math, that’s 21 days per year over eight years. Who’s lazy now?
For years, Republicans have refused to pass any bills that create jobs, and have done nothing but damage the economy by holding the nation hostage in debt deal negotiations. At the same time Americans are struggling, those same Republicans are giving themselves 239 days off and $174,000 a year in salary to be unproductive. The average American worker would be fired by now with that kind of work/pay ratio.
It should be obvious that Republicans are the ones the lazy ones sucking on the taxpayer teat, while the rest of us slave away at low paying jobs with few days off. Clearly, this must change.