Sunday, May 27, 2007

Just How Expensive is D.C.?

I live in New York but a few times a year, I go to Washington D.C. on business. Though hotel rooms there are expensive, just about everything else in that city is far cheaper than it would be in New York. I'd guess that a $100 dinner for two in New York goes for $60-$70 in D.C. D.C. is a big city and it charges big city prices but if you spend even a few days there, you realize that it is far cheaper than Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco.

Now, we hear from a CBS News National correspondent that because of proposed reforms that will make lobbyist donations to congressional reps more transparent and that might demand a longer period away from the capitol for retiring congress reps who want to become lobbyists that some congressional reps might actions leave their posts behind.

The argument is that D.C. is just too damned expensive to live in without having access to lobbyist money.

Those guys are surely lucky that our capitol isn't in New York, L.A. or San Francisco.

But what about the fact that millions of people live in D.C. at wages far less than a congressional wage, without the perks of campaign donations and free golfing trips to Scotland? How is it that an office worker in D.C. can find a way to live in a house or apartment, feed themselves or start families without lobbyist support while our reps complain that the capitol is too expensive?

The fact is, D.C. is only marginally more expensive than Philadelphia or Chicago. If our correspondent from CBS is right, and she probably is, then our congressional reps are complaining about living in a city that, while expensive, is also successfully inhabited by the types of people that congressional reps are meant to represent.

I guess that means that certain members of congress believe that the day-to-day struggles faced by the average American are unbearable. It's interesting to me that these people support a system that demands more of the average American than they're willing to bear themselves. They must think they're better than the people they represent. That's not healthy.


At 6:17 PM , Blogger Jon E. said...

If I believed the explanation for why the congressmen and -women might quit, I'd have to punch all of them in their elitist faces for exactly the reasons you identify, Mike.

I live on way less than they do in Chicago, and I'll soon be living on way less in LA. And I don't get the country's best health care and pension as part of my employement. (And I still live better than a lot of Americans in those cities.)

However, I don't believe the explanation. If any Congressfolk actually do quit because of the new disclosure rules (which, let's be honest, are pretty freakin' toothless), they'll be quitting because they don't want to live an honest, upper-middle-class lifetstyle with the possibility of making some serious rich cash down the line. That is, they're only in Congress so that they can be Duke-Cunningham-on-a-yacht corrupt, so they'll damn sure get out before crime stops paying so well.

In which case, I will of course want to punch them in their criminal faces.

I bet Dennis Kucinich would sponsor a bill allowing me to do so.


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