Wanted: Part-time job with $174,000 salary — and plenty of perks

Pssst — have I got a few sweetheart jobs for you.

In one, you’ll only have to work 111 days in 2016. You’ll be off — yep, off! — for 150 days. There’s this job, too: You’ll only have to work for 149 days and get 112 days off.

I know — it sounds too good to be true, right? Well, get this: In either job, you’ll be paid at least $174,000. You’ll be able to earn about 15 percent more in “outside income,” too.

You’ll get an allowance of almost $950,000 to hire staff to help you cope with your arduous schedule. You’ll get money for office expenses and have postage for your official mail paid for you, too. You’ll get great health benefits (including an “attending physician” in case you need emergency care), a gym and workout facilities, and a terrific retirement plan.

And more perks: Free parking at D.C. airports. Your staff will have dedicated phone lines to airlines to make reservations for you. You won’t have to publicly disclosure your stock trades and any insider knowledge, too. Wow! You’ll get to fly back and forth for D.C. to your home state, paid for by taxpayers!

You’ll also find plenty of rich people just tripping over themselves to give you money, too. All you’ll have to do is a little favor for them from time to time. Nothing much. Perhaps you’ll quietly slip a $640 million earmark into a Homeland Security Appropriations bill for a national security cutter the U.S. Coast Guard says it doesn’t want or need — just to help some lobbyist pals over on K Street.

The principal criterion to keep either of these jobs is this: Before you do a damn thing for the people you work for, do plenty for those who paid for you to get this job.

Yes, I’m describing jobs as members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. It’s no secret that their reduced workload in 2016 is due to one overriding consideration: Get re-elected. All representatives and a third of senators must face the voters in 2016. So they’re off to fundraisers, hoping to raise millions at each. They’re good at that: They spend up to half their time dialing for dollars during their entire legislative service.

The House will not be in session at all in August or October. Its in-session workload will be its least in a decade.

For sheer political bullshit, consider this explanation of the reduced 2016 schedule by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy:

This calendar ensures that ‘the People’s House’ always remains in touch with those back home. Discussing ideas and concerns is a critical function of a responsive, representative democracy, and for this reason, our schedule will continue to provide members considerable time for constituent services in their districts each month.

(The only “constituent services” these guys plan is to bow in servitude to billionaires and stiff you and me.)

Thus the reduced 2016 legislative calendar. The AP made this comparison: “A full-time worker who gets four weeks of vacation would have roughly 230 days of work next year.” (How many of you get four weeks off each year?)

Tim Roemer, a former congressman, pointed out the real cost to the electorate:

The direct cost to the public is clear: Elected officials are not able to spend 100 percent of their time on their legislative jobs. The problem is not ideological or partisan. It affects the left and the right, Democrats and Republicans equally, and is costing the taxpayer and driving away many talented public servants.

After you serve a few decades (because as an incumbent, you’ll almost always be re-elected), you’ll shed a few tears in the well of the House or Senate bidding farewell to your colleagues (and later bid “howdy” to your new colleagues in a lobbying operation a few blocks away) and retire.

But all that campaign cash you’ve accumulated over the years to keep and retain power? You get to keep that.

So you may end up like John Boehner, the just-departed House speaker, who left as the best-paid member of Congress at $223,500 a year with almost $4 million in campaign funds. Now, he can’t spend it for personal use. But he can wield considerable power by donating to other candidates he favors or donating to the Republican Party. Nice, eh? He’ll also get up to $1 million a year for five years to “facilitate” settling any matters relating to his tenure as speaker.

If you’d like to grab one of these jobs, good luck. They’re all bought and paid for by people who have a helluva lot more disposable income than you and me.

Ain’t American corruption democracy great?

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