This is not a political column but sometimes we need to shine a light on this topic.
Our government is shut down because our leadership can no longer communicate with one another. A bit of a groundhog day moment, don’t you think? Haven’t we seen this dance before? Well, for all of the folks in Washington, here is a headline for you – Get out! One thing you have excelled at is incompetency. Incompetency is not an attribute we look for in our employees. Do you think you would have a job if you worked for anyone else? The answer is no!
How is it that 800,000 hard working Americans can be laid off from their positions because of your inability to lead, but you, our leaders, continue to get paid? How does that work? Let’s peel the onion back another layer and look at yet another perk of yours that has not been shut down. The Members Only Congressional Gym remains open as it was deemed essential. Really?
Head Start programs have been shuttered, small businesses can’t get loans and hundreds of thousands of federal government employees are furloughed. But the exclusive members-only Congressional gyms have remained open throughout the shutdown.
A House aide confirmed that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.
According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed. It appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) complained to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald that the members gym was getting “rank.”
The daily operating cost of the House and Senate gyms remains shrouded in secrecy. The Architect of the Capitol, which oversees both gyms, has previously refused to provide information about the gyms for “security reasons.” A call to the Architect of the Capitol for this story was not immediately returned.
And here is another one from my friend Armand that is sure to tweak you a bit (Not twerk you 🙂 )
The US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices. The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, most of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country. The sale of these properties will fetch about $19 billion. A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CRI and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum. Richard Blum is the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein. (Most voters and many of the government people who approved the deal have not made the connection between the two because they have different last names).
Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to make a fortune (est at between $950 million and $1.1 billion!!) from these transactions. His company is the sole real estate on the sale. CRI will be making a minimum of 3% and as much as 6% commission on each and every sale.
So our leaders get to work out while our government employees deemed non-essential get to sit home and not get paid. And then one of our Senators gets right because her husband is awarded an exclusive agreement to sell $19 billion dollars worth of government owned real estate. And we wonder why we have little or no faith in leadership.