I Get It: Congress is an April Fool’s Day Joke

I’m not sure what’s more frustrating: the report that shows a family of four needs to make $68,000 to find stability in this country or the fact that it’s not going to change.  The Federal poverty level has long been an inadequate, but the discrepancy between the what the Federal government considers poverty ($22,050 for a family of four) and the income needed to simply find stability is distressing.  Congress spent Friday debating a measure that, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, would make “HR1” law without having to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President.  The GOP decided that the best way to spend their was to pass a bill that would allow them to violate the constitution.

Now one wants to see poverty rise on their watch, so the White House is in a bind.  The federal measure for poverty needs to change, but that changing it means that the numbers go up.  It means that we admit more people actually live in poverty.  Instead, we’ll leave these hard-working, low-income Americans in a purgatory where they can;t access benefits that might actually help them.

The White House has the same problem with unemployment. The President needs unemployment to go down.  Going into an election with 8.9% unemployment means a much more difficult race.  Today we saw that unemployment is down.  Unfortunately, most of these new jobs are low wage in the retail and services sectors.  It’s hard to complain about people going back to work, but what is a job if it means you’re still treading water?

We need a serious discussion about a living wage in the United States.  We need to encourage and reward employers who offer higher pay and health coverage.  We need to talk about what we can do to close this massive gap between what people make and what will allow them to save for emergencies or retirement or their child’s education.  We’re not going to get that.

In addition to debating an unconstitutional law that would never be agreed to by the Senate or the President, the House also spent time attempting to bust pilot and engineer unions and remove regulations requiring additional rest for pilots.  The Senate doesn’t really do anything anymore and the President is still trying to explain his Libya policy.  Meanwhile states across the country are finding novel ways to restrict abortion, bust unions, suppress the vote, and admonish elected officials for saying “uterus“.

Congress has a week to pass another CR or an actual budget.  Instead of having a conversation about priorities, we’ve been treated to political theater.  It’s beginning to reach the “tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing” phase.  We deserve better from elected officials.  We deserve outrage that a family of four needs $68,000 to have a whiff of stability.  We deserve righteous anger that people can work two and three jobs and get nowhere near $68,000.  Instead, we get shrill cries of nonsense.

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