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The Supreme Court has been in the news lately and not in a good way, due to alleged ethics violations. Congress is up in arms over whether or not the court should adhere to the same strict ethical standards we all do. A future blog will deal with the Court; today, a brief look at the righteous congressmen (women), demanding a high bar for court conduct.

Do you realize Congress passes laws we all must follow...all of us, except for Congress? There are a number of areas where the lawmakers have carved out exceptions so they don't have to be saddled with the crap they impose on the rest of the country.

The classic example deals with social security. You know how 15.3% of your gross income goes toward social security? (Part of the reason your take home pay looks so much lower than you thought it'd be). For 50 years, congressmen were the only wage earners in the United States who didn't have to pay in to social security, boosting their take home pay by 15.3%.

A few other examples:

  • Those whistle blower statutes that provide protection to individuals blowing the whistle on their employer? Guess which employer's workers do not get that same protection? If you guessed congress, then the magic duck must have come down with the secret word.

  • The Workers with Disabilities Act and Age Discrimination in Employment Act impose detailed record retention requirements on employers so that adherence can be continuously monitored. Except one employer has no such requirement. Three guesses (the first two don't count).

  • Speaking of disabilities, a government study a few years back identified a number of areas where bathroom and other access areas were noncompliant with the standards passed by congress. Not to nitpick, the study noted a few violations, 2,000 of them.

The bottom line: I'll take congress's calls for ethical standards more seriously when congress itself proves itself to be law abiding.


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