A discussion of race, politics, media and the like… What I see is what you get.

Keli Goff: Should Members of Congress With Shoddy Finances Lecture us on Fiscal Responsibility?

Yet another example of Republican hypocrisy and mean spiritedness as it relates to policy decisions that affect the middle class and the poor. It’s as if they believe the poor are poor on purpose. As if resources in the community have no bearing on locking in people to the bottom of the economic ladder. The only time they find religion is when they themselves are in a situation where they have limited resources…then they see the need for government resources.

Contrary to the criticism, I don’t believe Duffy was whining at all. I believe him when he says his family is struggling to make ends meet. His financial disclosure forms certainly seem to confirm this. But much like Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston and others who criticized President Clinton for an affair, despite having had their own, Duffy and some of his conservative cohorts are attempting to lecture the rest of us on our lack of financial discipline, poor personal choices etc., when they are far from fiscal role models themselves. (Click here to see the most financially challenged members of Congress.)

See, Sean Duffy is financially strapped because he made the choice to have a vacation home and six children — children that, financially speaking, he is not prepared to care for. If goodness forbid he lost his job tomorrow or was rendered incapable of working, as things stand now, we taxpayers would be left subsidizing his family, in the form of federal programs and that doesn’t even include their college educations. (It’s worth noting that one of Duffy’s fellow conservative congressmen, Rep. Denny Rehberg, has likened Pell grants to welfare yet Duffy’s children will most likely have to rely on them to obtain college degrees unless Duffy hits the lottery in the next few years.)

Which brings me back to the imaginary mother introduced at the beginning of this piece. Rarely do I hear of poor parents celebrated for the decision to have families, particularly large ones, or for their decision to “choose life” and most of all, forgo birth control. Instead they seem to be under constant attack for their lack of “personal responsibility.” (And if a poor woman were to say publicly that she wishes to forgo work to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom — forget about it. She would immediately become the poster child for the next Republican Revolution.)

Yet for some reason when members of Congress — white, male, educated members of Congress — make the same decisions, they are celebrated, even though in both cases we taxpayers will be the ones left footing the bill. The only difference is Duffy, and others like him, actually know better, or rather should, and yet they sit around lecturing the rest of us on fiscal responsibility despite it being something many of them seem to know very little about.

Here’s my question. Is living a fiscally responsible life something that is supposed to be limited to poor, uneducated people? The ones conservatives are convinced are responsible for their own foreclosures, and bankruptcies (even those caused by medical emergencies), and who are supposedly bleeding us dry through “entitlement programs?” – Keli Goff

Keli Goff: Should Members of Congress With Shoddy Finances Lecture us on Fiscal Responsibility?.


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