McClatchy Newspapers report Helping those who need it: Congress gets a raise Thursday. Members of Congress have given themselves a $4,700-a-year raise starting tomorrow.
With the economy in a recession and millions of Americans losing their jobs, however, members are under fire to rescind the pay hike, which will increase their base salaries to $174,000, roughly a 2.8 percent raise.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California will get a larger raise of about $6,100, though it’s about the same percent increase. Her salary will rise to nearly $223,500. Pelosi’s office declined to comment on the raise…
Critics say that Congress has done nothing to deserve a raise.
And those critics are right.
The Washington Post reports Treasury’s bailout promises now exceed $350 billion Congress has allocated so far.
With the announcement of its $6 billion investment to stabilize GMAC, the Treasury Department has now spent or committed more money than Congress has allocated to its financial rescue program, effectively making more promises than it can afford to keep.
The scorecard: Congress gave Treasury $350 billion; Treasury has allocated $354.4 billion.
The department acknowledges that it needs Congress to approve the second half of the $700 billion rescue package simply to meet its commitments, let alone to address new emergencies. If Congress blocks the additional funding, as some members say they want to do, Treasury could be forced to break promises.
The end of the year marks a recap of news we already know. For instance, the NY Times reports 6 years of market gains were lost in 2008. “It was a very bad year to own stocks, any stocks – indeed, one of the worst ever. The Dow Jones industrial average will end the year down more than 34 percent, the worst year for the index since 1931, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index more than 38 percent.”
“All told, about $7 trillion of shareholders’ wealth – the gains of the last six years – will be wiped out in a year marked by violent market swings.”
Another such analysis comes from the LA Times which reports Bush never recovered from response to Katrina, former aides say.
Three years ago, Hurricane Katrina and its chaotic aftermath produced a collage of indelible images. Among them was a photo of President Bush, viewing the devastation from the comfort of Air Force One as he jetted to Washington.
Now, some of Bush’s closest advisors say his administration’s response to the disaster marked a turning point in what has become the most unpopular presidency in modern history. From then on, they say … his tenure entered a downward spiral from which he could never recover.
To read more about the worst presidency in living memory, see Vanity Fair story, “Farewell to All That: An Oral History of the Bush White House“.
Dec 31 2008