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Help Poor Sean Duffy

During a town hall meeting, Republican congressman Sean Duffy complained that he was struggling to make ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary (despite the fact that it is more than three times the median salary in his district).

I can guarantee you, or most of you, I guarantee that I have more debt than all of you. With 6 kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I’m living high on the hog, I’ve got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now. Would it be easier for me if I get more paychecks? Maybe, but at this point I’m not living high on the hog.

The GOP not only pulled the video of the event from its website, but demanded that other copies of the video be removed from the internet.

The local Democratic party, which is fighting Republican attempts to cut programs that benefit the poor and middle class, jumped on this, creating the poster above.

Ironically, Duffy is actually one of the poorest members of Congress. But don’t feel too sorry for him — some of the debt he is complaining about is the mortgage on his family vacation home.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Too late for a good birth control clinic I guess, but the Republicans probably cut the funding there also.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    In the United States an idiot gets elected every 12 minutes. (just kidding, about the 12 min part)

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  3. I felt the same way when I heard about poor Sean’s plight! So I went and grabbed my closest celeb friends (Jerry Lewis, Bono, and Mike Tyson) to throw together a telethon for his poor family:

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  4. Jason Ray wrote:

    I make more than Sean Duffy, and while I can’t honestly say I’m “struggling” (and I only have 2 children) I can say that I have to do a lot of difficult decision making and financial management to keep things afloat. I don’t own a terribly expensive property (less than half the price of a house in a big city), I don’t have any vacation homes, I only have one car that I make payments on, and my kids aren’t in school yet.

    Of course also note that Mr. Duffy makes $174,000 SALARY – and all Congressman have significant additional revenue streams from speaking fees, etc. not to mention that some of the their expenses are run through their campaign funds not out of their salary.

    My point, however, is twofold – one, that someone that makes $200,000 a year and lives in a major city is NOT that “wealthy” (a decent house’s mortgage payment in Los Angeles averages over $5,000 per month), and two, that if someone at that income level has challeneges imagine what a normal family, at less than half that, must be going through. We owe it to the vast majority of Americans to make sure that the services they need (decent public schools, decent health care, etc.) are available at no (or minimal) cost. It’s not about spreading the wealth – it’s about fairly sharing the pain. And for the top 400 income earners in the US (that make more than the bottom 150 MILLION) it’s not even about experiencing any pain – it’s about giving back to the country from which they have benefited so much.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ahh Jason, here is where your thinking has erred concerning needs vs wants. I have lived on a family income of 50k before and adjusted my spending to my income, ie. a smaller less desirable rental. Then As I earned more, my “needs” which are actually wants, grew with my salary. I bought a house instead of renting, and purchased my 1st new car vs patching together a used one. Here’s where my story may break from others who’ve crashed and burned. I stopped growing there and when my income doubled I didn’t go bigger, but started investing instead. I held steady for ten years using the same cars (inexpensive i might add)for ten years. My investmnts began to pay off, we moved to our dream home and I put 30% down (to get the payment where I could manage it). Now my household income is alittle above Duffy, but I still do alot of work for myself. Matter of fact we laugh because before the recession, I was the only guy in our neighborhood who cut his own grass, mulched his own yard, washed his car. To me those are all in the “want” category, not a need. Needs are food, water, a shelter. The rest are wants. 🙂

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  6. Rimshot wrote:

    Let’s ask all those with a six figure salay or better also Corporations contribute %5 of they profit to the debt. Better yet have the politician’s living on a true middle class salary (five figure salary) for a year.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Or how about if the congress, senate and president don’t pass a budget,which is their duty, they don’t get paid at all. I’d gladly give 5% to lower the budget, its just the politicians would just spend more because they’d say “see we lowered the debt, aren’t we wonderful”.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  8. Jason Ray wrote:

    @PSGT – The $1,700 a month in alimony doesnt help either 🙂 At leastthat will eventually go away 🙂 And of course I agree on needs vs. wants and its easy with a high income to treat some things more in the first category tan they properly belong.

    And, of course, if I was ruthless in my monetary decisions things would be a bit better, although frankly the cost of renting was just as high (if not higher) than the cost of buying (as long as mortgage interest is deductible).

    My two points, though, are the same – it’s hard to see how families can survive on the “average” income and people that are making $174K are not “wealthy”, especially if they live in a major city. High income earners make enough that they can afford a few dollars more in taxes (I would vote to put taxes back up at least to Clinton levels if not higher) and I think anyone that makes $1M or more in income every year can certainly afford more.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    i absolutely agree on the tax issue, however washington is home to the champions of spending. When I see them taking some fiscal responsibility then I’ll be a loud advocate for returning tax levels to pre-bush levels. Until they show me, I’m for not giving them a dime more, because then the joke will be on me. (fool me once…) We’ve also got to deal with the corporate loopholes, in particular the parking of profits out of country. I think we could dump the whole IRS, implement some kind of progressive flat tax or no individual tax and go to a national sales tax. At least then those that don’t report income (criminals and aliens) would still be supporting the country.

    Good luck wit that A… Thing, glad its not me brother!

    Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink
  10. BTN wrote:

    PSgt, If more of the country could distinguish between needs and wants, we would be much better off.

    Jason, $5000 for a “decent” house? Sorry, I’m not buying it – literally or figuratively. Question: what are your kitchen countertops made of?

    One of the keys to happiness is to try and spend less, rather than try to earn more.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink
  11. Jason Ray wrote:

    @BTN – Please recall I said “major city”. Prior to the collapse of the housing market, an “average” house (1,700 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 to 2 bathrooms) within 30 minutes of downtown Los Angeles cost about $900,000. Assuming you could but 10% down on it (very few people put more) that means a mortgage of $810,000. Assuming a 30 year traditional fixed rate mortgage with a 6.5% base interest rate (again, average for 2007) the monthly payment is $5,119.75. Which is why I said about $5K.

    Houses and condos in many locations are higher and in New York $1M for a condo was a starting point.

    My countertops are made of plastic laminate, like most average houses, and the floor is Pergo and inexpesnsive carpet. I have two cars, one of which is a 1998 Ford Expedition. Like I said, hardly the lap of luxury.

    A recent study said that to cover all the basics, a family of 4 needs to make about $65,000 per year, and that if you exclude retirement and savings and just focus on average living expenses the number is closer to $50,000. That’s still a far cry from what a lot of families make, which is why many people work two jobs and both spouses have to work full time. And since the median income level in the US is right about $50K, it means half of us can’t make enough to even meet basic needs reliably.

    As for happiness, money can’t buy happiness. Money provides flexibility, and reduces one potential stressor. I am thankful I have a high income, because it lets my wife be a full time mother and that will be good for our children, and it will let me make sure our children get a decent education (since I can’t say that if they go to public schools).

    I just think it’s clear that the Republican ideal of “rich get richer, everyone else looks out for themselves” is just wrong, and that ther “poverty line” isn’t $22,000 for a family four, any more than the “wealthy” line is $200,000.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink