Why so many people loathe Congress

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

Uncle Sam wants you!

Not the Uncle Sam who’s the symbolic caricature of our country, but Sam Johnson. Although he’s been a member of Congress more than a quarter of a century, it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of him, for Sam’s been what’s known in legislative circles as “furniture.” That’s a lawmaker who holds a congressional seat, but just sits in it, achieving so little that he’s unnoticeable.

But – look out! – Johnson has suddenly leapt into action. And we all need to take notice, because this Texas Republican has unveiled what he calls his “Plan to Permanently Save Social Security.”

To get you to support the plan, Uncle Sam wants you to believe that our nation’s very popular retirement program is “going bankrupt.” He knows that’s a lie, but he hopes it’s a big enough lie to panic you into doing anything to save the program. To make his plan easy to swallow, he coats it with another lie, claiming that he’s merely “modernizing” and “updating” Social Security, which a big majority of Americans count on to avoid stark poverty in their golden years.

But on fact, old Uncle Sam is conniving to “save” Social Security by gutting it. The press release announcing his “Reform Act” doesn’t even mention the key fact that it’s based on making workers keep paying the same 12.4 percent tax on their wages, but getting drastically less paid back to them when they retire. How much less? Up to 69 percent less, cutting a total cut of $11.6 trillion in benefits promised to America’s workers.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Meanwhile, Rep. Johnson has announced his own retirement after 28 years sitting sitting in Congress. And yes, he can draw a Social Security check, but he also gets a congressional pension that will pay him more than $70,000 a year. How about we cut that perk and leave the people’s Social Security alone?

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This was reposted from The Lowdown.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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