But let’s run with that figure of speech nonetheless, shall we?
Anyone who watches the news or reads the newspaper today can tell you that Congress is about as useful as an asshole on your elbow.
Articles abound about the “do nothing” Congress, and frankly I’m getting sick of reading them. You can get a good idea of what they’re all talking about by looking at this chart on congressional productivity from Pew Research:
I guess working for just 942 hours over the course of a year isn’t enough time to get all your work done. Yep, that’s the number they worked in 2013. In comparison, someone working a full-time job at 40 hours a week put in 2,080 hours last year…if they didn’t take a holiday.
The average American gets just 2 weeks off a year. In fact, the U.S. is the only “advanced” country in the world that doesn’t stipulate paid time off for employees by law. What’s more, 25% of Americans don’t receive any paid vacation time.
Having vacation time is nice, but it’s also essential for our economy, as Forbes reported last August:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American employee now works 160 hours (one month) more each year than in 1976. And job-related stress contributes to absenteeism, lost productivity, and health issues, and these factors cost businesses approximately $344 billion annually.
In fact, Congress typically just “works” 137 days a year, with weeks averaging just 28 hours. Pretty damn good for $174,000 a year…not to mention all the tax loopholes you can write so you can enrich yourself for the 2 to 6 years you’re there, right?
Here’s the time they put in over the past decade:
- 2013: 159
- 2012: 153
- 2011: 175
- 2010: 127
- 2009: 159
- 2008: 119
- 2007: 164
- 2006: 101
- 2005: 120
- 2004: 110
- 2003: 133
- 2002: 123
- 2001: 143
So that’s a total of 1,627 days in 13 years. In comparison, someone working 40 hours a week – oh, let’s be generous and give them 2 weeks of vacation each year, alright? – would work 3,094 days over that same period of time.
Tell me, who’s more valuable to society – these overwhelmingly old, white, rich men in suits in Washington, or your neighbor?
Because that’s really what we’re getting at here, folks – value. Congressmen and women have no value anymore – the numbers show that. People like Jon Tester and John Walsh have no value to us as a society.
Sure, maybe they’re working in their free time. But I’m not stupid and you’re not stupid – this situation stinks to high heaven.
Will it change? Nope. You’re not Congress’s boss, no matter how much they might like you to believe that lie. No, they have no bosses. Imagine if you could go into work and write the rules, set the schedule, and the determine your own pay. That’s what happens now, and I’m sick of it.
So to get back to the earlier question, ‘should Congress just be taken out and shot?’ Well, what do you think?