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Columns | "A Balloon In Cactus"

Top 10 Federal Budget Savings Ideas

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
You don't like the President's Budget proposal? Try the Top 10 from the People, who kept it simple so members of Congress can understand it.

First a few reminders: Salary for a House member is $174,000, not counting perks, one of which is called their "allowance." This is a euphemism for lots of extra taxpayer money ($900,000, commonly called "almost a million") given to them for office supplies and salaries for almost 20 loyal underlings. They get about $250,000 (commonly called "a quarter of a million dollars more") for office expenses (what, that wasn't covered in their "allowance"?), including travel (we'll bet they don't go Economy and we also bet these might include golf trips). You don't even have to be alive to get this money, as evidenced by the late Robert Byrd's continuing salary of $193,000 even after he's been in the ground since last June.

We the People aren't crazy about learning that Senators get even a bigger allowance for their office expenses ... more than $3.3 million. Each senator is given $500,000 to hire up to three legislative assistants. If they'd only learn to type for themselves, that taxpayer money could support ten taxpayer families. Let us now get to our simple Top 10 Items, to wit:

10. Take away free healthcare for members of Congress and see how they like it.

9. Take away non-profit (no taxes) status from churches. This is real separation of Church and State. God would likely appreciate that money going to the people.

8. Take away taxpayer-paid security and benefits from retired Congressional members. If they're honest with the people, they won't need security. This should also discourage so many crooks from running for office.

7. Remind Congressional members they are already in the top 5% of American wage earners. What, you mean to say they themselves are the ones they want to continue giving all those tax breaks to? Really???

6. Take away diplomatic immunity for foreign diplomats and make them pay for their parking like the rest of us.

5. Charge each member of Congress $1,000 every time they address someone they loathe as "My esteemed colleague across the aisle ... "

4. Take away the mansions Congressional members live in and give them a small apartment in D.C. Don't forget, they have another mansionin their home state. Right now, they are entitled to almost 9,000 sq. ft and as many offices as they want in their home state ... not to mention $40,000 for furnishings. Use their empty mansions for the next Super Bowl.

3. Take away Congress' $3,000 in tax deductions for expenses outside their home district. Are you kidding? Is that over and above the taxpapermoney given them for expenses? And you want to take away our deduction for mortgage interest? What???

2. Take away Congressional members' free franking privileges. Having taxpapers pay for postage soliciting more funds from the taxpaper is insulting to us.

1. Take away the make-up and hair people who service members of Congress, especially the person who tapes open Nancy Pelosi's eyelids.

Sincerely,
We the People

© Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
February 23, 2011 column
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