Job-Killing Red Tape for Thee, Not for Me

Congress refuses to comply with rules it makes for everyone else.

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Congress
Dreamstime

If you think that all members of Congress have to comply with all of the laws that we common citizens have to obey, think again. Over the years, Congress has passed thousands of bills and statutes that dictate how we should or shouldn't live our lives, but its members often fail to comply with these rules. In many instances, they actually exempt themselves from those burdensome constraints.

To state an obvious example: Taking other people's money via force and spending it will land everyone but a politician in jail.

Or, remember a few years ago when we found out that members of Congress weren't prohibited from trading stocks using nonpublic information? For most of us, this type of insider trading is a serious crime that carries a high probability of prison time for regular Joes. The outrage over this scandal led to a reform bill (the STOCK Act) to right the injustice. But then Congress eliminated a key reporting requirement for members of Congress, which gutted the law enough to guarantee more corruption going forward.

Just to name another few:

Congress is also exempt from investigatory subpoenas to obtain information for safety and health probes and from prosecution for retaliating against employees who report safety and health hazards. In an age of federal agencies' overreach and bogus prosecutions, I bet private businesses would like to be exempt, too.

Sarbanes-Oxley rules, which can throw chief executives of publicly traded companies in prison for up to 20 years and cost them $5 million in fines if they fail to certify their accounts, don't apply to Congress. The Department of Defense has failed to comply with auditing requirements for several decades without consequences.

In other examples, we see that it takes decades for Congress to subject itself to laws that apply to us. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established overtime pay, record keeping and youth employment standards, affecting full-time and part-time workers. For all its good intentions, many companies consider this act to be the bane of their existence, the source of a constant stream of regulations and enormous costs with small benefits. Congress, in spite of its large workforce, exempted itself from it.

That lasted until 1995—almost 60 years later—when the House and Senate finally passed the Congressional Accountability Act, requiring that Congress comply with many of the standards established under the FLS Act. Among other things, the act applied many labor and workplace safety and civil rights statutes to the legislative branch, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.

But don't let this fool you. Just because it's the law doesn't mean that Congress actually complies with it. Consider overtime rules. Again, under the CAA of 1995, Congress has to comply with the rules, but in order to do so, both the House and the Senate must issue a resolution that they will adopt the rules. In 1996, all those procedural boxes were checked, and Congress subjected itself to overtime pay rules. It never complied again.

In August 2004, the Department of Labor issued new and costly overtime pay regulations—which once again changed the standard compensation levels and overtime exemptions for full-time employees, from a weekly salary level of $155 (the threshold varies based on duties) to a new standard of $455. However, Congress has not yet adopted the regulations to replace the 1996 overtime pay standards with the updated ones.

And what do you think is going to happen now that the DOL changed the overtime pay rule to apply to full-time employees making up to $913 a week? Based on their past behaviors, I predict that members of Congress will exempt themselves again, even though many lawmakers forcefully lobbied for the rule to be pushed down the private sector's throat. As Competitive Enterprise Institute's Bill Frezza noted when he heard of the exemption, "job-killing red tape for thee. Exemption for me."

In Federalist No. 57, James Madison wrote that the House of Representatives "can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society." How far we have fallen.

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  1. This is my shocked face 😐

    1. Hey, that looks just like my shocked face.

      1. I understand that Eleanor Rigby keeps hers in a jar by the door.

        1. Who is it for?

          1. God damn it Crusty.

            1. The answer is all the lonely people, BYODB.

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  2. In Federalist No. 57, James Madison wrote that the House of Representatives “can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.”

    Wow. Talk about being completely wrong.

    1. But….but….INTENTIONS!

      1. I guess they had to pass the Constitution to find out what was in it. Which, despite lots of promise turned out to be just another flaming bag of dog shit on the front porch of America’s populace. Sorry, folks!

    2. Sounds like time for an Amendment? or Equal Protection challenge.

    3. I’m guessing that he was counting on the state-elected senators to act as a check on these twats.

      We showed him!

  3. Also, good to see more of Ms. De Rugy. We get far too little of her excellent economic analysis. Fox News/Business should get you on the #RedEye and #Kennedy shows, too. You’d be awesome.

    Thanks again for a nice dose of de Rugy!

    1. ^This.

      And ditch that shitbird Chapman.

      1. As I’ve noted here many times – and will do so presently – my favorite word string is, “Steven Chapman is on vacation this week.”

        1. Beautiful. You should set it to music.

    2. So Al, how are you you feeling these days?

      1. thanks for asking! I could be much worse, so I’m doing my best to count my blessings. I’m mostly just tired, and frankly get depressed (esp. when I wake up – the worst). But only two more weeks of radiation, and I’ve missed most of the worst side effects. REALLY bad neuropathy in my feet, so I don’t dare ride the motorcycles (plus being tired and weak), but….I try not to bitch. It could be much worse.

        Prognosis? I’ve outlived the orig estimate already, the tumor (IT IS A TUMAH!) has actually shrunk a little. CT scan in about a month and the docs will figure out what’s next.

        In the meantime, I’m making plastic models again to keep my hands and mind active – completed P40, TBD Avenger, USS Missouri, 1910 Model T, Willys Jeep, and working on a HUGE 1/8 scale Jag E Type by Revel. Others in the wings – mid-1950’s Sprint car with an Offy engine, Sopwith Camel (balsa wood – 29″ wing span), German halftrack and Panzer tank….couple other planes.

        AND working on the ’63 Mercury Marauder I picked up after I sold one of my sets of bagpipes for a good sum. Pertronix ignition, basic tuneup, new trunk seal….she’s a purty one.

        Thanks again for asking – hope all is very well with you!

        1. Holy Crap! I didn’t know bag pipes could be so valuable. I’m happy to hear you have some fun projects.

        2. Geez, that sounds almost unbearably shitty. It’s good to see that you can still appreciate the good things and keep your spirits up though. I’ll be rooting for you, it kinda sucks to lose good people.

        3. I hope things continue to go better than the estimates.

        4. This place is better with you around. Hoping for the best.

        5. That is excellent. I wish I could be as productive. I haven’t said much before, but you are in my thoughts.

          Keep your chin up Almanian.

        6. You are also back down to sexy weight.

        7. God bless and good luck.

        8. Almanian – I don’t know you and I know this will come off really badly, but for the love of god, look into a calorie restricted ketogenic diet and read up (and watch) anything by Dr. Thomas Seyfried. I would also recommend the book “Tripping Over the Truth.” It reads very quickly. The central feature of PET positive cancers is that they all use only one molecule for the creation of energy/ATP: carbohydrates. The vast majority starve without carbs and human beings do NOT need carbs to live. Your cells work fine in ketogenesis – excellently in fact. Cancer is a metabolic disease, not a nuclear one. It’s a downstream effect of a failure in the mitochondria.

          Calorie restriction alone wipes out a bunch of cancers within 72 hours. Yeah, it’s completely counter-intuitive, but not when you realize that Warburg pointed this out in the 1920s, but was subsequently ignored. Read “Tripping Over the Truth.” Please. You won’t regret it. And the diet isn’t that hard or bad at all.

          1. Please do try this, if you have the inclination. And let us know when it doesn’t make any difference at all. It can only make the world a slightly less dumb place.

        9. Good to hear from you, we will be voting for you!

          Just kidding, we don’t vote, but still, good to hear from you.

        10. Keep doing what you’re doing. Either way, you have my vote in November.

        11. This is wonderful news. I hope you keep beating the cancer.

  4. What we have now is worse than what we took up arms against in 1765.

    We have largely become complacent pussies.

    1. Indeed, and most did so willingly and happily.

      1. That implies we had a choice in the matter, other than taking up arms that is.

        1. Well there was a choice once upon a time. Unfortunately the majority weren’t comfortable with freedom and decided to bring back rulers. The sad part is, most of them believe that it’s not as bad because they get to choose their masters.

          1. The problem is that government is a one-way ratchet. There is zero incentive to repeal legislation or regulation that causes harm. Quite the opposite, actually. Harm caused by legislation or regulation is an opportunity to write more! And the harm caused by that is an opportunity to write more! And the harm caused by that is an opportunity to write more! They’re lawmakers and regulators, not repealers! Besides, where the power-rush from taking away stupid rules? There is none. That’s admitting defeat. Not only that, but if you work to repeal rules that previous people made, then future people might repeal rules that you made. You don’t want that. No rule maker wants that. So out of professional courtesy, nobody repeals anything if it can be avoided, and that includes the Judicial branch which is supposed to be a check on the power of the other branches. Checks and balances? Ha! It’s more like deference and deference.

    2. We are the domesticated descendants of a one-free people.

    3. We have largely become complacent pussies.

      Part of the “problem” is that we’ve become too rich and well off for own good. Which isn’t a bad problem to have, but still. In 1776 we didn’t have too many (if any) morbidly obese poor people shoving cheap, plentiful food into their mouths to the point of giving themselves type 2 diabetes. Or smart phones, or televisions with 300 channels.

      That and a large portion of the population is wholly or partially dependent on the government, and are perfectly content to ride that entitlement gravy train all the way to the grave. They’re not giving up any of their free shit without a fight.

      1. It’s hard to become morbidly obese with wooden teeth.

  5. OT: libertarian refusal to allow gun control leads to another political death. Oh wait, it’s in the UK. Must be due to white masculinity then.

    1. There is no mention of who the attacker was, no mention of his name.

      I wonder what that means?

      1. I wouldn’t read a whole lot into at this time – the Brits are a little better about not saying much about suspects. On the Twitter feed for the attack, one eyewitness described him as a white man, FWIW.

        1. I am not jumping to conclusions, just wondering aloud.

          1. Oops, sorry for misinterpreting.

            1. What is this, Canada? Double down! Call him a cunt!

            1. Who does he think he is, John Malkovich from In The Line of Fire?

            2. Why doesn’t Britain have any common sense homemade gun control laws?

            3. there are some reports that the gun was homemade.

              Coming soon: “common sense” 3-D printer, CNC lathe and milling machine controls.

  6. “A riot is an ugly t’ing and I t’ink it’s about time ve had one!”

    Inspector Kemp

  7. The parasite class exempting themselves from laws that hurts us while ensuring they maintain criminal activity?

    Tickle my Elmo.

  8. I’ve outlived the orig estimate already,

    Keep plugging away, Dude.

    working on the ’63 Mercury Marauder I picked up after I sold one of my sets of bagpipes for a good sum. Pertronix ignition, basic tuneup, new trunk seal….she’s a purty one.

    Not long ago, for no good reason, I was thinking it might be fun to have an old 6-cyl Falcon (round taillight style) to cruise around in.

  9. Fuck off Facist. Needs moar woodchipper.

    http://dailycaller.com/2016/06…..f-fascist/

    1. I think Maura Healey would start goose-stepping right away if she read what 1930s Fascists actually wrote?

    2. Nice! So basically, we’re back to the Galileo affair?

    3. YEAAAHHHH!!!!1!!!!!! That’s fucking awesome, best thing I’ve read in a while. About time someone stood up to those fuckers.

  10. Have nobles ever been subject to the same laws as the commoners?

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  12. I wouldn’t convict her

    http://nbc4i.com/2016/06/16/an…..-positive/

    1. Irresistible impulse. Get Jimmy Stewart for a lawyer.

    2. Her name is Misty Lee. What did he expect the outcome would be?

  13. Speaking of for thee, but not for me:

    Equality at long last! Why can’t the bitter clingers see that America must join the revolution?!

    Viva la Socialismo!

    1. /Libertarians not hardest hit

  14. “Over the years, Congress has passed thousands of bills and statutes that dictate how we should or shouldn’t live our lives, but its members often fail to comply with these rules.”

    Not only congress-critters; see the felonious hag now running for president.

  15. Veronique de Rugy, good article, but I think the problem goes beyond that. The government itself has been using its laws to protect itself from its citizens even when the government is at fault.

    In the landmark United States v. Reynolds case, the United States used State Secrets Privilege to cover up the fact that the USAF had neglected proper maintenance on a B-29 Superfortress they were using to develop test classified electronics equipment which crashed, killing several RCA engineers. As a result, the widows of the engineers received much smaller compensation than they would have if the neglect had come out.

    The same think happened at Area 51/Groom Lake/Homey Airport. Several engineers were injured and a couple died from exposure to toxic waste. The engineers and widows sued for compensation for medical care, wrongful death compensation, and identification of materials for medical care. The government again asserted State Secrets Privilege. This time the government lost, so President Bill Clinton issued an EO exempting the area from environmental laws and the lawsuit was subsequently dropped in the government’s favor.

  16. Veronique de Rugy, good article, but I think the problem goes beyond that. The government itself has been using its laws to protect itself from its citizens even when the government is at fault.

    In the landmark United States v. Reynolds case, the United States used State Secrets Privilege to cover up the fact that the USAF had neglected proper maintenance on a B-29 Superfortress they were using to develop test classified electronics equipment which crashed, killing several RCA engineers. As a result, the widows of the engineers received much smaller compensation than they would have if the neglect had come out.

    The same think happened at Area 51/Groom Lake/Homey Airport. Several engineers were injured and a couple died from exposure to toxic waste. The engineers and widows sued for compensation for medical care, wrongful death compensation, and identification of materials for medical care. The government again asserted State Secrets Privilege. This time the government lost, so President Bill Clinton issued an EO exempting the area from environmental laws and the lawsuit was subsequently dropped in the government’s favor.

  17. Rules are for peasants, not their rulers.

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  36. They make the rules we are to follow them but they aren’t required to do the same…a load of BS if you ask me!

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