Ken Collins: Why are we surprised?
October 14, 2013
We seem to be surprised at the behavior of Congress. "They are out of touch," and "they have no sense of reality," and "they have no idea what's it's like to have a real 8 to 5 job." And that's true. But think about it. How about a lot of professional athletes and some highly paid entertainers and top CEOs. These people have the same lack of a sense of reality.
What is the common denominator here? Education? No — all over the board there. Age? Nope again. Childhood upbringing? That always has some influence. But the real common denominators are the amount of money they make and the way they are treated.
Money, of course, can ruin most people when you're talking that kind of money. Let's be clear here, that Congress makes a whole lot more than their legal pay. Deals, lobbyists and secret contracts double, triple or more their pay. And athletes and entertainers and CEOs are in leagues of their own. So money is an easy reason to figure.
How about the treatment they get? Entertainers and athletes are treated like gods in our world. They may not do any or very little of the common everyday stuff we have to do. Someone else does it for them. There are exceptions, of course. A lot of them don't even drive, do laundry or grocery shop on their own. The same for Congresspeople. Remember when H.W. Bush went to a grocery store and had never seen a bar scanner?
Congress folks are catered to in every part of their lives. They are sweet talked and surrounded by sycophants. They work, at most, 100 days per year. Everything is on an expense account. They expect, since we voted them in, to get their way. One or two terms is all they need to get a lifetime Social Security check, a fat one.
As we see now with the debt crises, the press, for the most part, gives them nearly a free pass. An almost single-digit approval rating doesn't even phase them. Why? Because we, the people, think they all are bad, but we re-elect them at an 80-plus percent rate. Who wouldn't feel that way?
So again, why are we surprised?