Jim Hoffman
Free Press Opinion Columnist

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February 7, 2013
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HOFFMAN: Death, retirement and deception

Last week's column mentioned HB 13-1064, an initiative that would allow counties to forego paid publication of legal announcements in print media. Well, apparently it died in committee before you even read the Free Press.

Our local State Rep. Jared Wright was one of the votes in favor of forwarding the bill to the full House for consideration. While we have not spoken with Wright, we would like to thank him here for his support of this specific legislative attempt. It is time we examine this 100-plus-year-old requirement for publishing notifications in local newspapers. It is archaic and has become an unfortunate example of corporate welfare that serves little purpose in a modern world.

On a personal note: In just a few days, an agency of the federal government will officially recognize me as "retired." Approximately five weeks thereafter a deposit shall be made in my bank account, that being my first "entitlement" check. More than 47 years after taking on my first job, some money, which was deducted from each and every payroll check, is going to be returned as promised. Now I am either part of the 47% or 99%, but definitely not the 1%.

When the House of Representatives created the last gimmick to avoid the "fiscal cliff," I was somewhat saddened. There was a level of hope within me they would not. It was felt that a delay in the receipt of my first "entitlement" would be worth it - because it would have been a heck of a column topic. Unfortunately, for millions including seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, active duty military and others, the failure of Congress would have been much more painful than a mere temporary inconvenience. Well, they delayed that economic Armageddon for now; it remains to be seen if a long-term solution is at hand.

Let's look at that arrangement at which they arrived:

You may recall that our Congressional leaders announced last year that if they were unable to reach budgetary agreement by year-end then automatic draconian budget cuts would occur automatically. Those cuts were so onerous and this "sequestration" so devastating that we were certain they would develop a logical spending plan and avoid that horror.

Well, they did avoid those automatic budget cuts, not by actually doing something, but only to say "we really did not mean it" and then kick that can down the road. Now sequestration has been replaced by another political trick to make us support their efforts once again.

It has been declared that if the House and Senate do not pass a budget bill they will forego their salaries. This is certainly an act which the public can support; most of us do not feel they earn their pay, now they are voluntarily giving up their undeserved salaries. Read more closely and you will discover they are not foregoing pay under this recommendation, merely escrowing it for payment at a later time. They continue to show how easily we are fooled by their machinations and announcements.

Also, since the 27th Amendment to the Constitution does not allow a seated Congress to change the amount or method of their pay without an intervening election, their proposal would seem to be possibly unconstitutional. What is really clever, however, is the fact they really will still be paid for not doing their jobs despite all implications to the contrary.

Under their proposal they shall receive their pay at the point in time they pass a budget, OR until this Congress ends in 2015.

So, if they do nothing for the entire life of this Congress they will not receive their pay bi-weekly, monthly or however it is they are paid. Given the fact most are multi-millionaires this may not be much of a privation. THEN, at the end of this cycle they will receive 100% of their pay in one lump sum regardless of accomplishment or lack thereof.

How is it incumbents continue to convince us they are OK, but the rest of the asylum crazies are the true problem?

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). Email him at freepressjim@gmail.com; he yearns for some intellectual repartee.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 7, 2013 06:00PM Published Feb 7, 2013 05:58PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.