One News Now (Link) (February 6, 2009)
The head of a conservative civil liberties organization says while President Obama has called on Americans to make some sacrifices in the way they live, members of Congress should also be making personal sacrifices and remember that they exist to serve the people.
John Whitehead is president of The Rutherford Institute in Virginia. On his video blog he recently posted an op-ed entitled "The Culture of Corruption in Congress." In the video he suggests that America's leaders on Capitol Hill are "living like kings" and committing "abuses of office."
The constitutional attorney says it is absolutely ludicrous that Congress has given itself a pay raise during a time when nearly a million people have lost their homes in foreclosure and almost 40 million Americans are living under the poverty line.
"These fellows have six-figure salaries. They get millions of dollars in benefits from their home offices," says Whitehead. "They get 32 trips home a year. We're paying for him to fly back and forth when we have fax machines and the Internet and e-mail these days. All kinds of things -- free haircuts, free parking, free limousine service."
In addition, says Whitehead, members of Congress get to participate in a generous taxpayer-funded retirement program that is not available to average Americans.
"Think about it -- a guy serves four years in Congress [and] he gets a free retirement plan for life," the attorney explains. "These are all things they built into the system for themselves. It's corrupt. [And] most of us are trying to make ends meet. It's absurd. I don't think they should get paid at all."
Whitehead says it is time for the American people to say enough is enough, and demand real reform in Washington.