Screw Obamacare, 'We the People' Want Everything Congress Has

Being an elected representative of the people is a sweet gig, chock full of cushy salaries, budgets, benefits and perks. Why would Americans bother with simply asking for a repeal of Obamacare when they could ask for so much more?

Here's what We the People should really demand: every perk and penny Congress enjoys courtesy of our hard-earned tax dollars --- and they enjoy a lot. Take a look at what our incompetent and insufficient congressmen and congresswomen get for doing the people's business:

Salary & Benefits

Annual Salary: $174,000

• Each Senator and Representative receives $174K per annum (the Speaker of the House gets $223,500, and the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate get $193,400).

• Permissible “outside earned income” for Representatives and Senators is limited to 15% of the annual rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule. According to the House Ethics Committee and Senate Ethics Committee, the 2016 limit is $27,495.

Tax Deduction Perk: $3,000

• Each Senator and Representative is allowed to deduct living expenses up to $3,000 per annum, while away from their congressional districts or home states.

Healthcare: $10,000

• For decades, congressional members had access to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Started in 1959, a few years before Medicare, it was meant to cover some nine million government employees --- civil-service workers, the courts, the Post Office, members of Congress, and more. It wasn’t a single plan but, rather, as a Times story put it, “a supermarket offering 300 private health plans.” Heritage Foundation called it “a showcase of consumer choice and free-market competition.”

• Since 2014, lawmakers and staffers, except in a handful of cases, purchased health insurance through the D.C.'s “SHOP” exchange. They do this with an employer-based subsidy from the federal government, which some lawmakers have denounced as an “exemption” for Congress under the law.

• Under Obamacare, a middle-aged member of Congress who earns an annual salary of $174,000 from the taxpayers, and who has a wife and children, will get a $10,000 subsidy from the taxpayers (over and above his $174,000 salary) to buy a health insurance plan that a regular citizen making almost $80,000 less than the congressman will not get.

Short Work Week: Up to 239 Days Off

According to the congressional calendar released in late 2012, there were 126 congressional sessions on the docket without a single five-day work week, leaving members of Congress with 239 days to work outside of Congress. Sometimes this means working within their home state, and in other cases it can mean a vacation.

Budget & Office Space (Senate)

Personnel and Office Expense Account: $3,043,454 to $4,815,203

• The Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) is available to assist Senators in their official and representational duties. The allowance is provided for the fiscal year. The preliminary list of SOPOEA levels contained in the Senate report accompanying the FY2017 legislative branch appropriations bill shows an average allowance of $3,306,570 per senator.

Staff Salaries: $169,459 to $171,315

• The maximum annual salary for committee employees, as continued since the 2009 pay order, is $171,315. The salary of an employee in a senator’s office may not exceed an annual rate of $169,459.

Physical Office Space: 5,000 to 8,200 square feet

• Each senator is authorized home state office space in federal buildings. In the event suitable office space is not available in a federal building, other office space may be secured. The cost of private space is not to exceed the highest rate per square foot charged by the General Services Administration. The aggregate square footage of office space that can be secured for a senator ranges from 5,000 square feet, if the population of the state is less than 3 million, to 8,200 square feet, if the state’s population is 17 million or more.

Furniture Budget: Starting at $40,000

• Each senator is authorized $40,000 for state office furniture and furnishings for one or more offices, if the aggregate square footage of office space does not exceed 5,000 square feet. The base authorization is increased by $1,000 for each authorized additional incremental increase in office space of 200 square feet.

Budget & Office Space (House of Representatives)

Personnel and Office Expense Account: $1,200,000

• Members of the House receive a $250,000 budget for travel and office expenses.

Staff Salaries: $168,411 to $172,500

• Members of the House receive a $900,000 annual allowance for a staff.

• The maximum annual salary for employees of committees, as revised in the 2009 pay order, is $172,500 for up to three staff members (two majority and one minority); $170,696 for up to nine staff members (six majority and three minority); and a maximum of $168,411 for other staff. The salary of an employee in a member office may not exceed an annual rate of $168,411.

Other Perks

Members of Congress have long been treated as a special class with lifelong access to members-only parking spaces, elevators, dining rooms and exercise facilities (unless they become a lobbyist).

Grooming and Fitness Amenities

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only gym

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only tennis court

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only salon

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only barbershop

Airline Privileges

• Staff schedulers often times make reservations for members of Congress via dedicated phone lines that Delta and other major airlines have reportedly set up for Capitol Hill customers. Airlines also permit members to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the trips they take. “We get on every single flight,” one congressional aide familiar with the process told Roll Call last month.

• Free parking at the two Washington-area airports (At a rate of $22 per day, that represents almost $740,000 in forgone revenue annually for Reagan National).

Retirement and Investment Benefits

• According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average Social Security recipient is going to net $15,000 a year in benefits while a public workers' pension will average around $26,000. By contrast, a retired member of Congress who's served 20 years will average $59,000 annually in pension benefits. In addition, Congress members (actually all federal workers) have access to the Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k)-like investment vehicle with fees of just 0.03%. To put that into context, Bankrate notes that this means just $0.27 in fees for every $1,000 for the Thrift Savings Plan, compared with the average 401(k), which charges around $5 in fees for every $1,000. Over a lifetime, that can mean thousands less in fees for congressional employees compared to public- and private-sector workers.

• Despite passing the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, perhaps known better as the STOCK Act in 2012, Congress gutted the primary disclosure component. While still making it difficult to make trades on inside information, this means they don't have to publicly disclose their trades and potential insider knowledge. It's laudable they passed the restrictions, but it's hard keep them honest if it's difficult to access the information.

Death Benefits

• Family members of those in Congress who die typically receive a full year’s salary as compensation ($174,000). By comparison, the families of members of the armed forces killed on the battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan are only entitled to $100,000 for their loss.

Sources:

Congressional Research Service

The Center for Public Integrity

The Motley Fool

The New Yorker

OPM.gov

The Washington Post

CNS News

How RFK's example can help our nation in the wake of Trump's attack

Rowland Scherman / Contributor | Getty Images

How did you feel last Saturday when you heard the news that a former president of the United States narrowly avoided an assassin's bullet by a mere few inches? Were you angry at the media for their constant demonization of Trump and his conservative contingency? Did you blame the left for curating a political climate that fostered an assassination attempt?

In his immediate reaction to the news, Glenn pointed us back to a similar moment in American history: April 4th, 1968—the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

"The best speech I've ever heard given was by RFK Sr. on the day Martin Luther King was killed" - Glenn

Robert F. Kennedy, the father of current independent presidential candidate RFK Jr., was en route to Indianapolis when he heard the terrible news. His security team, expecting violent outrage across the country, asked RFK Sr. to turn around and head back to safety. But as Glenn said, RFK Sr. believed in the good in people and demanded to give his speech. He arrived in Indianapolis Park late in the day, and he addressed the crowd of predominantly black campaign supporters.

There were no riots in Indianapolis that night.

The message RFK Sr. gave that night wasn't one of vengeance, hatred, or hopelessness, but of calm and goodness. He appealed to the best in people. He called for people to set aside their differences, anger, fear, and confusion and instead express love and compassion towards one another. RFK Sr. asked for wisdom and the pursuit of justice so that we might be resolute in our unity as the country faces another difficult chapter.

What we need in this country is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.

Glenn has made a similar plea to our nation—a plea for unity and not to lash out in fear and anger. Don't use this time to blame your friends and family who disagree with you politically for what happened or to tell them "I told you so!" Instead, reach out with compassion and grace. This is a turning point in American history. Let's turn it upward, away from hatred and violence and towards unison and compassion.

Fortunately, President Trump walked away from his attempted assassination with very minor injuries. The bullet that wounded Trump's ear could have just as easily ended his life, and his survival is nothing short of a miracle.

Sadly, that miracle didn't extend to everyone attending Trump's ill-fated Pennsylvania rally. Three other people were shot. David Dutch and James Copenhaver, both Pennslyavia residents, are thankfully in stable condition. Corey Comperatore, however, tragically died after being shot while protecting his wife and daughter from the hail of gunfire.

“Corey died a hero."

Camperatore, a 50-year-old loving father and husband from Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania leaves behind his daughter Allyson, his wife Helen, sister Dawn, and many other friends and family. Camperatore was a man of service, having spent 43 years as part of the Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Company and had worked his way to becoming the fire chief when he stepped down to spend more time with his daughter.

Corey Comperatore's firefighting gear outside the Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Company. The Washington Post / Contributor | Getty Images

Corey's friends and family have nothing but good things to say about him, and judging by their testimonies, Corey's final heroic act was consistent with how the volunteer firefighter lived his life.

According to many people who knew Compertore, he was a true patriot who loved his country. He was a fan of President Trump. Compertore was very excited to attend Saturday's rally, which he expressed in his last social media post.

Corey_Comper/X

During his speech addressing the shooting, President Biden expressed his condolences to the Comperatore family, stating that "He was a father. He was protecting his family from the bullets that were being fired.”

Democrat Mutiny? These prominent Progressives and Democratic leaders DEMAND that Biden withdraw

NurPhoto / Contributor, Justin Sullivan / Staff, Cindy Ord / Staff | Getty Images

Biden is still taking hard blows from both sides of the aisle after his abysmal performance in last month's presidential debate. As Glenn pointed out in his post-debate coverage, Biden came across as so incompetent that it has made many Americans scared that, should the country face a major threat, Biden would be unable to respond to it. This includes many Democrats, who are finally admitting that Biden isn't as fit as they have been claiming for the last four years.

Many names have already been suggested as potential replacements for the Democratic nominee, but many people, including some Democrats, don't believe Biden should even stay in office for the election. Here are some prominent progressives and Democratic lawmakers who have called for President Biden's resignation:

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

Tom Williams / Contributor | Getty Images

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Arizona)

NurPhoto / Contributor | Getty Images

Rep. Seth Moulton (Massachusetts)

Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images

Rep. Mike Quigley (Illinois)

Pool / Pool | Getty Images

Rep. Angie Craig (Minnesota)

Anna Moneymaker / Staff | Getty Images

Rep. Adam Smith (Washington)

Scott J. Ferrell / Contributor | Getty Images

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (New Jersey)

Chip Somodevilla / Staff | Getty Images

Rep. Pat Ryan (New York)

Tom Williams / Contributor | Getty Images

Rep. Hillary Scholten (Michigan)

Bill Clark / Contributor | Getty Images

Senator Peter Welch (Vermont)

Bonnie Cash / Stringer | Getty Images

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Oregon)

Chip Somodevilla / Staff | Getty Images

BONUS: Actor George Clooney

Cindy Ord / Staff | Getty Images

These TOP 5 new technologies left Glenn SHOCKED

Peter Macdiarmid / Staff | Getty Images

Glenn has been covering some of the most groundbreaking, exciting, and often terrifying technological advances. Some new tech has the potential to make a positive impact. Some tech is just SUPER cool, like a flame-throwing robot dog. However, there is also a dark side to technology. Glenn exposes how some new technological developments, particularly in the realm of AI, pose serious ethical questions.

Here are the top five new technologies that Glenn covered that will make your jaw drop:

Anti-gravity device

This new technology developed by Dr. Charles Buhler and his team may change everything we know about transportation and travel. Described as "propellant-less propulsion" by Dr. Buhler, this technology appears to defy gravity and is potentially a way for people to travel into and through space without the need for rockets. It doesn't stop there either, this tech could be used to forever change the way we travel here on Earth.

Human embryo-powered supercomputer

To have massively powerful AI, something, which many people seem to have an invested interest in, you need a lot of electricity to power the computers that host the artificial intelligences. Naturally, this energy consumption upsets the environmentalists so in response a terrifying solution was developed. Bio Processors are essentially computer chips powered by human cells, specifically stem cells, which are predominantly harvested from embryos. These Bio Processors have a limited shelf life, meaning they need a steady supply of stem cells to keep the computers that use them operational. What could be more terrifying than an AI that eats human cells?

Voice-stealing AI

When ChatGPT came out in late 2022 its power and versatility took the world by storm. Suddenly, students had it write entire essays in mere seconds, and it was creating songs and poems with ease. The capabilities of the ChatGPT AI were as disturbing as they were impressive, but after a recent update, it took a hard turn towards disturbing. OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, decided to give the program a voice and tried to recruit famous actress Scarlett Johansson to lend her voice to the machine. After she declined the offer, OpenAI went ahead and released the update for ChatGPT featuring a voice that sounded eerily similar to Johansson's. While OpenAI claims it's a different, similar-sounding voice actress, the idea that a computer is going around with your stolen voice is terrifying.

Flamethrower robot dog

How could you possibly ever make something cooler than a flamethrower? Simple, strap it to the back of a robotic dog of course! Originally built to help fight forest fires (ironically enough) by creating backburns, Glenn pointed out that a pack of these bad boys patrolling your property would be the ultimate home defense. Nobody would come anywhere near your house if it was guarded by a few of these firey companions.

Wormhole-generating UFO's

It's been a decade since the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. No trace of the aircraft or any of its passengers, except a few small pieces of debris, were ever found nor was an official cause of the disappearance ever given. There have been an infinite number of theories explaining what might have happened, but this one from investigative journalist Ashton Forbes might take the cake for the wildest. Forbes joined Glenn on his radio show and brought with him convincing video evidence that seemed to show the now-missing aircraft being circled by three mysterious orbs before suddenly disappearing in a flash of light. Does this video show the doomed aircraft being sucked into an artificial wormhole, or is it an amazing piece of hoaxwork?