Yes, they can

United States Capitol

United States Capitol (Photo credit: Jack in DC)

Can a do-nothing Congress do less in 2014 than they have done in 2013? Yes, they can. Can the approval rating of Congress sink any lower than 9%? It will difficult, but I am certain that this Congress will rise to the occasion and see its approval rating sink even lower.

GOP approval rating

English: The western front of the United State...

English: The western front of the United States Capitol. The Neoclassical style building is located in Washington, D.C., on top of Capitol Hill at the east end of the National Mall. The Capitol was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The approval ratings of the GOP and Congress are near historic lows, roughly 28% for the GOP and lower for Congress. In the recent vote to end the Federal government shutdown, 38% of House GOP members voted in support and 62% opposed. Those numbers were almost exactly reversed in the Senate, 61% in support and 39% opposed. If you subtract one number from the other, the difference is 23% in both cases which is almost the same as the GOP approval rating. A coincidence? Maybe not.

Free market wages

English: Monthly minimum wages in EU Member St...

English: Monthly minimum wages in EU Member States, Turkey and the USA in 2008, in national euros and purchasing power standards Français : Salaire minimum mensuel dans les Etats membres de l’UE, la Turquie et les Etats-Unis en 2008, en euro et en parités de pouvoir d’achat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some in Congress want to repeal the minimum wage and let wages be set by the market. That is a very bad idea. Additionally, Congress sets its own wages by law and they receive a generous package of benefits for very little work. They have the time to write books and engage in lucrative speaking engagements if they wish to supplement their taxpayer guaranteed wages. The rest of us struggle to pay our bills with full-time work if we can find it.

In the recent past, society decided the acceptable salary range for various jobs and professions, and regulations or other mechanisms enforced our collective judgment. With the movement to deregulation and market based wages, we have witnessed a growing disparity between what the lowest paid workers are paid and what CEOs pay themselves. Repealing the minimum wage will make the situation worse. Jack London documented in The People of the Abyss how free market wages lead to a downward spiral that ends in misery and an early death for many.


English: Chart of the United States' debt ceil...

English: Chart of the United States’ debt ceiling from 1981 to 2010 in $ trillion. This chart tracks the debt ceiling at the end of each calendar year. Years are color coded by congressional control and presidential terms highlighted. Data source: Modified chart by to remove New York Times logo and make more NPOV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t bother listening to the blather on the right about the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. The impasse will last until the bottom drops out of the stock market. Then and only then will the government re-open and the debt ceiling be raised. The talking heads and various pundits have 24 hours to fill seven days a week. They talk, but don’t waste your time listening.

2 mistakes

Daily News cover illustrated by Ed Murawinski

Daily News cover illustrated by Ed Murawinski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama has made two mistakes that are going to cause the country much harm by allowing the GOP to work their will. First he altered the sequester to eliminate delays caused by budget cuts to the air traffic controller budget. Other sequester cuts that are less visible continue to hurt 10,000s of Americans. Secondly, he signed a bill to allow members of the military to continue to be paid during the Federal government shutdown. That gives the GOP relief to the only segment of the government that they care about. The other segment of American society that the GOP care about is the 1%, and they are wealthy enough to purchase other services during the shutdown. Even if Congress finally approves a clean bill for the continuing resolution, the sequester will continue. And I believe that the government shutdown will continue for a long time since the military will continue drawing their pay while other government employees will not.