- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2017

President Donald Trump set the nation’s tongues a-wagging with a couple of recent tweets that suggested if Congress failed to repeal Obamacare, then congressional members would lose their own cushy health care subsidies, the ones that come courtesy of the American taxpayers.

Good. Actually, Congress should lose these subsidies no matter what — whether they repeal and replace or not. And on top of that: They should lose all their special benefits. Why should they have, when the average Americans have-not?

Anytime congressional members get something the average American doesn’t, an imbalance is created.

Mathematically speaking, Congress plus special benefits equals ruling class.

Politicians have no business having special rights and privileges above what’s afforded the citizens who pay their salaries — also known as the employers.

Trump touched this nerve with his most recent tweets, which came in the face of congressional failures to repeal the hated socialist Obamacare.

He tweeted: “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

Later, he tweeted this: “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?”

Around this same time frame, Vice President Mike Pence took to Fox News to tell host Tucker Carlson that it’s “pretty typical” for there to be “one set of rules for the American people and another for the political class here in our nation’s capital.”

He made the comments in context of discussing the potential for Trump to rescind the special treatment congressional members and their aides have on health care — the subsidies that range between $6,000 and $12,000 per year, and that pick up roughly 70 percent of their insurance premiums.

Well, Joe Q. Taxpayer, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. You’re the one who pays for this — even while struggling to pay your own premiums, so as to avoid an Internal Revenue Service penalty.

The fact that Congress gets these subsidies is an affront, and not just to the taxpayer — to the whole “of, by and for the people” system of governance that’s supposed to be America.

But it’s not just health care.

Congressional members, in addition to base salaries of $174,000 that are about three times higher than the private-sector average, get free airport parking, free gyms — on-site, and lavishly outfitted with televisions, a swimming pool, a sauna, basketball courts — and extra-generous vacation days. They also get retirement plans that are the stuff of Social Security recipient dreams; flights to points domestic and overseas that are funded largely by tax dollars; and death benefits that beat even that of the U.S. military.

Why should the family of a killed congressman receive more than that of a killed soldier?

All that, plus a million or so per member — or more — for allowances for staff, and a sneaky, snaky insider-trader system that explains why pretty much every member of Congress hits the big bucks shortly after making it to Capitol Hill, and you’ve got a system where politicians are at the top, the people at the bottom.

Trump shouldn’t just strip the health care subsidies. He should write an order that no federal employee can receive more than the private sector hand that feeds. Talk about draining the swamp. Strip the cushy special benefits from the creatures of the swamp, and watch: They’ll simply pack and flee.

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