A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR CONGRESSIONAL HOUSING

Many are the tribulations of serving the one's fellow man in that most august of legislatures, that which convenes under the opulent dome of the Capitol of the United States in Washington, D.C. The endless toil one undertakes in pursuit of the Common Good is well enough known that we need not recount those tales of hell here. But reader, being in session for up to six fortnights annually is just the tip of the iceberg of Congressional lamentations. I prithee be seated and have ready a strong drink as I take the reader through horrors as yet unimagined.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah showed exceptional bravery in calling attention to a problem that legislators have suffered heretofore in silence. Despite being paid the paltry sum of $174,000 per annum, members of Congress must contend with the high costs of housing in our kingdom's capital. Dear reader, your heart would break to hear some of the tales of what these poor, gallant men have suffered in private. Orrin Hatch was found recently living in the L'Enfant Plaza bus station, earning cold bits of oatcake and treacle from a cruel blacksmith for whom he rendered the most back-breaking service. Mitch McConnell wishes fortune would smile on him as much; he is taken to wandering the streets of his evenings, lighting his way through the mazes of tenements with a short length of rope dipped in embalming fluid and set ablaze. Where he finds his meals we dare not ask.

Can this be acceptable in a society that fancies itself civilized? I think not. Reo. Chaffetz has requested in the spirit of humility and Christian charity a $2,500 monthly allowance for housing these wretches of public service, the amount reflecting not avarice but the rapacious cost of housing in our capital. Only his imminent retirement to gentlemanly life with what remains of his shattered health enables him to make such a bold proposal, one so necessary to the spirit of democracy yet so incomprehensible to the common man.

The prejudice and simpleness of the ordinary American dooms this proposal to a stillbirth. He who is happy to live in a shack and eat whichever child is least likely to survive cholera cannot but marvel at the thought of $2,500 – every month, at that! Nay, then, we cannot renumerate our humble servants. Fortunately there is another way. I daresay, a better way.

How, your author was brought to wonder, has the government of this great nation dealt with the lack of affordable lodgings in our cities in the past? Surely elected officials are not the first citizens to fall victim to these horrors, First Citizens though they may be. And I am pleased to report, reader, that a solution presented itself upon diligent research.

Pray Congress appropriate the funds to build one large edifice – a tower in the mold of the greatest tall buildings of our greatest cities – with 535 units of individual residence! Within this single building every member may find succor and comfort without privation without burdening the nation with annual payments of rapacious rents. Thus with a single building project of reasonable scope (the erection of such a structure is well within the means of the most pedestrian of the men of trades) can the state provide for the needs of the many burdened by a poverty of available lodgings!

Such a concept is likely foreign to the reader; thus an illustrationist has undertaken to provide this rendition of the spirit of the work:

Thus has the state provided for the needs of the unhoused in the past; thus shall it be again in the future! Failing this, let us eat them.

Submitted humbly for your consideration,
G. Tacos

Be Sociable, Share!

36 Responses to “A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR CONGRESSIONAL HOUSING”

  1. Ellis Weiner Says:

    Sir:

    I have before me your proposal inst., wherein a single general housing structure should be constructed for the sole and express purpose of providing lodging for our nation's Representatives during their self-sacrificing residencies in our nation's Capital.

    I find it to be a sound–indeed, inspired–notion, rendered all the more laudable by its implicit commemoration and embodiment of EQUALITY. We are a nation, not of men, but of laws, and women. All men are equal before the law and, frequently, after it. What better way to symbolize this noble ideal, than to assure that all our Congresspersonpeople reside in identical "dorms," share common kitchen and toilet and laundry facilities, and "hang out" in identical socializing zones?

    Let every one of us do all he (or she) can to realize this radiant, glorious notion. I would, myself, except I find that I shall be very busy over the next few years.

    Be assured that I am, sir,
    Yours faithfully,
    Etc.

  2. Greg Says:

    Bravo, Ed. I am a sucker for the genius of A Modest Proposal but even so this is one of your best.

  3. Noblewoman Says:

    4th para, 3rd sentence, should be "remunerate". But I know what you meant, and this is a genius-level modest proposal.

  4. Kevin Says:

    Living in Cabrini-Green is too good for this asshole. This man should be kicked and spat on when he walks down the street.

    The real issue is this…. in the old days, when Congress was in session they met Monday through Friday, and only funded one or two trips home per year. If you wanted to be in Congress, part of the deal was moving your family here.

    When Congress is in session today, they only meet Tuesday through Thursday. This allows them to spend Monday and Friday at home, although much of this time is spent fundraising. Plus, Congress now either funds whatever trips home they want to make, or their campaigns pay for them to fly home (or somewhere) every weekend.

    So your basic Congresscreatures of today has to continue to make his/her house payments at home AND find suitable digs in DC, and fund both on a measly $174,000/year. It's a living hell, I tell you.

  5. Davis X. Machina Says:

    Pay whatever the major league minimum is — a good rep is at least as valuable as a fifth outfielder, or a LOOGIE.

    As it is the average Congresscritter is a millionaire, due in no small part to how much it costs to run, and to serve.

    A few more Mike Michauds would be a good idea — one worth paying for.

  6. RPorrofatto Says:

    I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London that a considerable quantity of a certain exterior "cladding" may be had quite cheaply from our British cousins. This material is of a type that is most attractive and comes with the highest recommendation. Surely the approbation of other residents of the neighborhood would help assist in raising sufficient funds for the construction of these very special projects to house our humble representatives.

  7. democommie Says:

    La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain.

    Add in access to reasonably priced healthcare and you got it all.

  8. Steve Holt! Says:

    Dennis Hastert went from high school wrestlin' coach to multi millionaire in roughly the amount of time it takes you and me to get from customer service rep to shift manager. That's what congress is about – joining the biggest quasi legal insider trading club in the world. They can swing it.

  9. geoff Says:

    @RPorrofatto, you beat me to it! Nicely done, good sir or madame.

    (Seeya in Gitmo!)

  10. Davis X. Machina Says:

    Denny Hastert didn't make that leap on his salary, did he?

    Let's incentivize graft and corruption — that'll solve the problem.

  11. mago Says:

    Hey! That photo looks like het Nederland.

  12. Major Kong Says:

    Let him bunk with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

    When I was junior in seniority and having to sit reserve, I stayed in a "crash pad" in Memphis with up to 5 other pilots on any given day.

    It cost me $200/month if I wanted to share a room or $330 if I wanted my own room. I ended up splurging and getting my own room. I'm much too old to be doing the college dorm room thing.

  13. Sir Arcane Says:

    LOVETT:
    And I've just begun —
    Here's the politician, so oily
    It's served with a doily,
    Have one!
    TODD:
    Put it on a bun.
    Well, you never know if it's going to run!

  14. quixote Says:

    Marry, 'tis the voice of reason, quoth I to myself, nodding, agreeing with each golden word, until I beheld the final suggestion.

    Art thou tired of thy loyal followers and dost thou wish to poison us?

    There be not enough spices in all Araby to render such scum palatable.

  15. Hondo Says:

    Make sure you use the right cladding. The kind that burns quickly.

  16. Big McLargehuge Says:

    Nice! Can you do one with Candide next?

  17. democommie Says:

    Maybe Wackenhut can come up with a suitable dwelling place.

    I'm thinking round-the-clock security; a ratio of staff at about three or four guests per; weekly (or as needed) inspections to ensure the safety and harmony of all concerned and above all–very high walls and stout gates.

  18. disgusted Says:

    These high rise buildings should be located in the worst neighborhoods in the city and be of the worst construction ensuring that their neighbors could be heard at all hours of the day and night. A shared bathroom for the floor would allow for the most interaction. I suggest that these congressmen share quarters in the building with a roommate of the opposite party. That way Dems and Reps would actually have to talk to each other. Additionally, they would need to volunteer in the community on Monday's and Friday's so they actually have an idea of what it is to live on meager salaries. A REQUIRED meeting would be held once per week where Americans could put forth a topic for consideration that would be discussed openly and in front of news media and broadcast nationwide. Said congressmen should be required to live on the paltry medical care that others are forced to use (shall I say at the local Planned Parenthood). And meals would be served at the local homeless shelter. Food for their use would be obtained at the local food pantry. Transportation would be by foot or on local buses. Of course, they might need to wear bullet proof vests so they did not get shot on the streets at night.
    Maybe then there would be just laws being created for those in America.

  19. disgusted Says:

    Oh and I forgot. In order to get a room in the building, they would need to go through "Extreme Vetting" to make sure they were really worthy of a room. Every piece of their life would be scrutinized. This could take several months and would necessitate living temporarily in a homeless shelter before moving in. Any discrepancy in their reporting could land them in a deportation facility. If they lied they would be deported to Venezuela, North Korea, of shall I utter the word Russia?

  20. Major Kong Says:

    Don't forget mandatory drug testing.

  21. RosiesDad Says:

    When I heard Chaffetz's complaint, what came to mind to me was providing housing shelter type facilities for these men of letters. Army cots, sitting side by side and head to foot in a gymnasium or warehouse type setting should work fine. Communal showers and a footlocker to store their valuables which could include a plate, a bowl, a cup and a spoon.

  22. democommie Says:

    Guys:

    Here we are making allathese granduousitess plans and we're forgetting something

    We already HAVE the perfect solution for the Congrifterish housing problem.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Pvg4wHZtM

    Good KKKristians that the majority of them are, they surely would embrace the words of their GOD's fair-haired, blue-eyed boy:

    "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

    AND, let's throw in a moat around the place, fed by an open sewer running down the middle of the "park" with shotgun totin' "guardians" on the far end to keep the bads out!

    Fuck, yeah.

  23. Some poor sap Says:

    If they're so strapped for funds that they need housing subsidies, let them obtain it like everyone else: apply for section 8.

  24. Jon Says:

    I'm not sure why he needs an additional housing stipend above and beyond the one he already gets. Government set DC housing per diem is $209 a night. For 30 days (if he intends to be there full time) is $6270. Add in separate reimbursable costs for parking and internet access, and you could get that number up to $7000. That's more than enough for a fully furnished three bedroom condo, even in DC. What sort of scam is he pulling here?

  25. drouse Says:

    You have to match the circumstances to the person. Karma demands it. My suggestion would be a skeevy Blues Brothers style SRO. Although adding congresscritters to the winos, addicts and perverts might actually lower the tone of the place.

  26. Satrap Says:

    The best part is the knowing, just 'knowing' this isn't for him. I can see some Rep from Bumblescum MT approaching him "So Jason, you're leaving for a super-secret high-paying job somewhere and don't have anything to lose. Wanna do me a solid and stump for this thing? I'm having a hard time getting by, and a bump of the median annual income for my district would really help".

  27. Sylvester McM. McBean Says:

    Perhaps, if one were to undertake dilligent assay, one might find extant some government owned building within the Distict of Columbia already modified for habitation. In the spirit of the common good one may find any lease, as may exist, to be invalid, were the holder of such lease to be found in violation of its terms, either expessed or implicit.

  28. satrap Says:

    The best part is knowing. just 'knowing' this isn't for him. Some junior Rep from Bumblescum MT approached him with the pitch "Hey Jason. You're leaving for a super-secret high-paying job somewhere and have nothing to lose. Wanna do me a solid and stump for this? I'm having a hard time getting by, and a bump of the median annual income for my district would really help with that".

  29. Pete Says:

    Or, barring a tower, there's an abandoned Congressional intern housing building on 1st St. May not be quite enough rooms but I'm sure they'll subdivide.

  30. John Says:

    Mayhap he can tether himself to the other lobbyist doxies and trollops along a flophouse pew. Such are the lodgings, as I am given to understand, for many a tainted daisy like himself.

  31. Sunwyn Ravenwood Says:

    They should all move into the Greenbriar bomb shelter. It was built for them after all.

  32. Gerald McGrew Says:

    Surprised no one has posted this…..

  33. mothra Says:

    Brilliant, Ed, and every single one of your commentators here.

  34. West of the Cascades Says:

    What a spectacular idea.

    Bonus: there will be one convenient location for the tumbrils to gather after visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In the future, will tumbrils be driven by Uber or Lyft?

  35. Safety Man! Says:

    @ Jon
    You only get per diem if you're on travel status.

    I don't know how it stacks up against the housing allowance for military or federal agents, but 2.5 k/ mo is actually pretty reasonable for the area (i.e. A modest single family home).

  36. John OLeary Says:

    Another option…

    The disused/underused barracks at military posts around DC. Set up some old school buses with some nice new seats for the fat tushies and run regular schedules into the district.

    Pluses: no self-segregating by party affiliation, and separation of sexes could be easily accomplished.

Leave a Reply