Whom Are They Kidding?
The latest wrinkle in the "you have to pass it to find out what's in it" legislation referred to as ObamaCare is the reported fear among lawmakers that unless something is done to protect their precious staffs from being burdened with ever-increasing health insurance premiums, they will be leaving government service and flee to the caring arms of the private sector.
Really? Do Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and other senior lawmakers making these dire prognostications actually think that because the mainstream media carry water for them day after day, the man and woman in the street could possibly buy into this nonsense?
Even many mainstream media outlets have noted (at least in passing, anyway) that subsidies for Hill staffers have no legal basis. Many staffers -- in fact, most staffers -- earn far more than the upper limit that ObamaCare allows for lower-income subsidy support for ordinary citizens. In short, helping these congressional staffers would be illegal.
But the stated fear that staffers would flee to enter the private economy is intellectually insulting.
After all, if these staffers actually had marketable skills that would be transferrable to a job in the private sector, who would they think is hiring right now? Do these staffers live in such an insular bubble that they believe the White House propaganda about how great the economy is doing right now?
The latest jobs report shows that the majority of new jobs are part-time, and a plurality last month were jobs in retail. Are we to believe that Hill staffers yearn to be Walmart greeters working less than 30 hours a week? Seriously?
The second insult to the intelligence of the common man is that congressional staffers actually have any marketable skills, or could hold on to a job for more than two or three weeks even if they did. Just ask anyone who actually works in the private sector what it's like. In the private sector, employees have to actually show results. Employees actually have to accomplish something. In a tight economy, such as our current stagnant one, employees who are viewed as deadwood really are dead -- or, to put it in more politically correct terms, terminated, which is pretty close to the same thing.
There is next to zero chance that any staffer in Congress will ever willingly leave to go into a competitive and unstable working environment, where "job security" is considered an urban myth, merely because his disposable income might be reduced because of the requirements of a law that he himself helped write and pass.
It might be human, and subject to forgiveness, if one felt a certain schadenfreude in this situation, but let's all agree to keep those feelings hidden. After all, there might be a silver lining to all this suffering that will be going on in Washington's elitist staffer army. It would be a good bet, almost a sure thing, that in the future, at least, they will never allow a bill to come to a vote without reading it, and they probably won't allow it to be voted on without analyzing it carefully for unintended consequences.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller and a two-tour Vietnam veteran; he writes frequently about political idiocy, business and economic idiocy, and American cultural idiocy. Jim also blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.