Here’s something that could make you hate and despise your benevolent democratic overlords to the very core of your bitter soul, if you’re not careful.
At least some of the members of Congress currently not doing their jobs have been expressing how important it is that they continue to get paid.
I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line.
Rep. Renee Ellmers there, before this story presumably took off and motivated a change of heart.
On one level, it’s not hard to sympathise with her plight. And that’s always a level worth paying attention to. She’s used to doing a job for which she gets paid a salary, and abruptly not receiving that salary could be a serious snag in her financial situation. I have no idea how many regular payments to things like mortgages and insurance premiums this Congresswoman is currently obliged to make, but it’s not unreasonable if she works her salary into her assumptions for being able to meet those obligations.
Really, her discomfort with the idea of giving up her income is understandable. I know it’d put a serious, frightening crimp in my own financial situation if I suddenly wasn’t getting paid.
…And here we approach the point. Ms Ellmers’s salary is quoted at $174,000 per annum. To put that in terms we can all understand, that’s more than I get. It’s a lot more than a lot of people get.
Which is perhaps why the delineation of her own monetary neediness as “the bottom line” rankles so deeply, and in what ought to be an entirely predictable way. That might be your bottom line, Ms Ellmers. Other people’s bottom lines go down way, way further.
I know nothing about this person’s situation and the debts and responsibilities she has to manage. She may even be right. It may be entirely true that she would become suddenly quite vulnerable and find it difficult to continue supporting her lifestyle if her primary income dried up. What’s infuriating isn’t the idea that she’s lying, it’s the lack of imagination.
Surely if you know how tough it can be on $174,000 + whatever your general surgeon husband brings in from his own practice, it doesn’t require much imagination to briefly consider how things might be for someone supporting a family alone on one tenth of your salary. Surely it’s kinda sorta a really important part of your job to spend time thinking about the people in such a situation who you supposedly represent. People already pushing the limits of personal deprivation to make ends meet. People who know that a problem at the bank that delays a bill payment could mean a spell without electricity or food for them or their children. People for whom downscaling some of their plans to accommodate a drop in household income, as you’ve had to do, is likely to mean ending up homeless, because there’s simply no further down for them to go.
It’s seems like it should be really hard not to take more of an interest in other people, is all. And yet some folk seem determined to try.