Desperate WI Republican congressman struggling to get by on $174K turns to copyright trolling

The Republican Party of Polk County, WI is pulling out all stops to suppress a video of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) bemoaning the difficulty of scraping by on his measly $174,000 (plus benefits!) government salary, and how hard it is driving around in his old car and paying off his student loans with only $174,000 (plus benefits) paid to him every year.

The Republican Party office -- which posted the video initially -- has used copyright claims to demand that video hosting services take it down. Talking Points Memo has excerpted the relevant scene and reposted it, and say that they will not remove it.

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.
As TPM points out, Duffy is poorer than the average Republican politico, but that's because the baseline for comparison is somewhere between "rich as hell" and "richer than God." And $174K a year is certainly a hell of a lot more than those "greedy union thugs" in Wisconsin have been asking for.

GOPers Demand Sean Duffy Salary Tape Be Pulled From The Internet (VIDEO)

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    1. Well, it’ll be easier for him when the State Republicans force the expansion of the school voucher program to include people who can already afford private schools.

  1. I can’t and won’t defend the stupid copyright claim….

    Beside that the clip you quote is hardly damning (making the copyright thing stupid on the GOP’s part). So he has trouble paying bills? That’s damning exactly how? Running two households (one in DC and one in WI isn’t exactly cheap and $174K won’t go far in DC alone much less two spots — but he chose to run so he can suck it up and quit whining.

    And you need to fact check… the average Republican politician is less rich than his or her Democratic counterpart. And because the poor vote Democratic — those who give them welfare skews the image and the numbers. Good Lord… the West and East Coasts are hardly poor and hardly Republican as are the urban population centers. And why is Detroit poor? Democrats have been running it for 50 years 9as but one of many examples). There is more income disparity within the Democratic party than there is in the GOP — which is solidly middle class. Again… check the giving of the average corporate fat cat and you’ll see it skewing Left (even if they give it to both parties).

    1. This guy just became congressman for the first time in January. He hasn’t done anything to put this country in a shitty position. Cut him some slack.

      1. He was in The Real World and Road Rules, so yes, he’s played a part in shittifying the country.

    2. I was wondering when you were going to close that parenthesis, but I’d never have guessed it would be after the paragraph break.

    3. I like how you demand fact checking and proceed to offer a bunch of unsubstantiated claims. That sort of hypocrisy has “GOP Presidential candidate” written all over it. You should toss your hat into the ring–they’ll take anybody.

    4. Beside that the clip you quote is hardly damning…

      It’s not so damning for the man, but it’s pretty damning for a party who thinks teachers should learn to put up with less to reveal even their own have trouble managing on a higher salary.

    5. “the average Republican politician is less rich than his or her Democratic counterpart.”

      I’m calling bullshit on this claim. Lets just agree though that to run for a national office requires you to either be rich or backed by the very rich. And republicans tend to be backed by the very rich just like the WI gov.

    6. $174K won’t go far in DC[…]

      Having grown up fairly close to poor in and around, of all places, wait for it… Washington D.C., I have to beg to differ.

      Median household income in D.C. is somewhere about $58k. That’s for two people. On top of that, that income is not evenly distributed, with 16.9% of the population below the poverty level.

      Where do the residents of D.C. reside? That’s right, folks: Washington, D.C.

      Which means they pay the bills with their family income, which is 1/3 of what this jacknut makes by himself.

    7. Turbo, no one claimed that Republicans are richer than Democrats. The post says that Duffy is poorer than the average Republican POLITICO, that is the average House/Senate member. If you actually bother to check the link, that is undoubtedly true.

      And $174 thousand won’t go far in D.C.? If you define “far” as having a Mercedes, a townhouse in Georgetown, and dining out every night on your own bill,than yes, but what an absurd metric to use.

    8. Dear Floyd – thank you for pointing out that the East Coast is not Republican. I’m sure that the good people of Florida on up through Virginia will be happy to have you clear that up for them so they can stop voting for Republicans and vote for the party you ascribe to them.

      Or that in my area of Pennsylvania, one of the reddest of the red areas in the country, famously described as like Alabama to Bill Clinton when he campaigned through here is somehow suddenly Democrat. What I can’t figure out then is how, if we’re so left-leaning that we ended up with Rick Santorum as our Senator for so long.

      Now that you’ve set me straight I feel a strong urge to put on a kaffiyeh and snuggle with Alan Alda.

  2. And to think — just a couple of days ago this guy could have claimed to have had very little in common with Barbara Streisand.

  3. [something about personal responsibility and having too many babies and a home you can’t affor; something else about parasitic public employees bleeding the taxpayers dry]

  4. @emmdeeaych
    Floyd is giving you the facts. You can choose to ignore the facts or you can verify them for yourself if you don’t believe them. What is this about “doing research for you”? Do you think about what you’re saying before you say it?

    @Paul
    I agree, the guy should be given some clack, but not for this. Anyone who is elected to congress should be smart enough not to say something like this. I’m a good Republican – which is the only kind of Republican (Jeff says sarcastically) – but even I think that this guy is being a douche.

    1. Floyd is giving you the facts. You can choose to ignore the facts or you can verify them for yourself if you don’t believe them. What is this about “doing research for you”?

      Welcome to Boing Boing. Emmdeeaych is correct. Making a bunch of inflammatory, unsupported assertions will be treated as trolling or astroturfing.

    2. jnero: Prove your claims, republi-bot.

      emmdeeaych is saying that Turbo is wrong (which he is) and isn’t going to do research to prove it to him because it would be a waste of time. If Turbo is inclined to be so misinformed, emmdeeaych is, wisely, not going to waste any time on him.

      PS mdh: is that you?

      1. yes it is, also formerly mdhatter. Change it up occasionally, but no overlaps. That would be sockpuppetry.

    3. I am saying, jnero, that the onus for a contrary claim is on the claimant. Statistics, numbers, show us the information that has upset you. Hyperlinks go a long way.

      And yes, I do think about what I say. Do you think about what you read?

  5. I feel bad posting just to be mean, but this is too easy:

    Two Real World “stars” who are hardcore catholics and can’t stop breeding? And want sympathy for that? Can’t make this up.

  6. Things must be tight – apparently he has to sell one of his two homes now just to make ends meet. This is the hovel he was living in when he was making just have as much as the DA in Ashland, which is now on the market for $300,000. Don’t worry, I think his family is probably staying in their quarter-million-dollar second home, at least for now, until they are forced to live out of their minivan.

    1. Don’t worry, I think his family is probably staying in their quarter-million-dollar second home, at least for now, until they are forced to live out of their minivan.

      I don’t think it’ll come to the minivan any time soon. Remember, he’s also got the $229k 2-bdrm ‘vacation cabin’ in Iron River to fall back on if things get really tough.

  7. With all due respect, he’s got a point. I was a staffer on Capitol Hill for 5 year. To be a member of congress you have to have 2 residences, a place in Washington and a place in your home district. So that’s two mortgages or rents to pay. Throw in a family and it’s not that easy. Washington is NOT a cheap town by any stretch. If you move your family here then the costs go up even higher. Most DON’T move their families here, so that means you’re paying to travel back and forth a lot, plus the family costs, and it starts adding up.

    Could you afford 2 households? Plus campaign, debt, plus whatever other bills you have to pay? This is the reason why most people who run for congress are wealthy. The average person couldn’t afford it! I say cut the guy some slack, even if he is a Republican.

    Btw the top 10 richest members of congress are 6 Republicans and 4 Dems, so Republicans are not always the rich ones…

    1. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) $160.05 million
    2. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)$73.75 million
    3. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) $56.49 million
    4. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) $55.47 million
    5. Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.) $25.52 million
    6. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) $21.74 million
    7. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) $19.90 million
    8. Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) $19.37 million
    9. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) $18.41 million
    10. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) $14.90 million
    Source: Roll Call, Sept. 16, 2010, 9:26 a.m

    1. With all due respect, he’s got a point.

      Um, then he’s got nothing to hide, then… correct? So then what’s with all the slimy squirming around trying to hide his so-called valid point with copyright trolling?

      This is rich… really, really rich… republican asshole. Attempt to do damage control and name off democrats all you want, but maybe it’s time your ilk learned some self-responsibility without always having to whine about what other people are doing when caught with your pants down?

      You know, the things that republicans keep telling everyone else they are all about?

      Self responsibility?

      HA! Bullshit.

  8. I think if you are in the top 5% of wage earners in the US and you aren’t “living higher than a hog”, you are probably doing it wrong.

  9. Floyd R Turbo wins zero internets. -10 points for the dumbassery of thinking we are just going to believe his obviously incorrect claims.

    I am also going to publish a copy of this pathetic excuse for a politician flailing around. You can hear it in his voice that he is lying through his teeth… he stumbles along, trying to substantiate his BS.

  10. @grimc
    He provided the facts! Do you want him to cite the individual sources of the information? What he’s saying is that the facts as they are presented in the article are wrong. They are NOT VERIFIABLE. The facts that Floyd provides ARE verifiable. Regardless, most of his argument is based on reason and logic.
    Fact – The coasts are wealthier than the rest of the country. They also tend to be more liberal.
    Fact – Those with lower income tend to vote Democrat because they get increased social services under Democratic administrations.
    Fact – Detroit is a mess. There are lots of reasons for that, but the main reason is because the car companies failed. Why did the car companies fail? Because of their high labor costs. Why did they have high labor costs? Because of the unions. Who do unions support? The Democrats. Thus, the Democrats ran Detroit for 50 years.
    This is a typical Democratic response. They make an unsupportable argument with no backing and no sound reasoning. They then base all future arguments on the false premises they put forward. They demand citations of every fact and line of reasoning that is presented even while they refuse to provide such evidence themselves. By not presenting anything even remotely approaching factual, they can get away with not having to provide evidence. They literally make things up and they get away with it. They then move the discussion away from their original position so that they don’t have to be held accountable for their arguments. It’s evil, but it’s freaking brilliant. Conservatives need to start realizing that you can’t argue with liberals because they don’t accept the concept of logical reasoning. They can make great leaps from point A to point B without bothering to explain how they got from one place to another. That concept is foreign to conservatives, and that’s why we tend to lose arguments even when we have the facts, the evidence, and the truth on our side.

    1. Just to point out something here…

      GM failed because they have been making shit for cars for the last 20 years. And I’m a Chevy fan. Yeah mismanaged and pissing money away, but still spread to thin, to far, and releasing lack luster models year after year.

      Now they are thinking about making a Buick version of the Volt….it’s like history never existed.

      (The same could be said for Toyota and the Lexus C200H, but at least the Prius has been out for a decade and has a proven track record.)

    2. “The car companies” didn’t fail. GM and Chrysler failed, both being stagnant, bureaucratic messes. The unions seemed to have overreached, as did the unbelievably moribund management. Both auto corporations seemed to have refused to believe that life had moved on from the 1960’s.

      It seems in your world that an entire firm’s failure can only result from it’s labor force, whereas in reality (a planet far from you), it’s a combination of industrial maturity, necrotic management, and labor forces not realizing that the political forces had long ago dismissed them, but that isn’t such a tightly knit, compelling story, is it?

      You spew inanities from the irrelevant right, others from the irrelevant left. Neither looks to have any answers that will move us forward in the current decade.

      It’s tiresome, and that is being kind.

      1. I hear a lot of people using labor costs and the auto unions as the reasons that the Big 3 went under. What I rarely hear mentioned is the huge tariffs imposed on foreign automakers so that the Big 3 could appear to be competitive. Even with that huge advantage given to them by the government, they still managed to lose. I’ve also read articles from former workers at the Big 3 who cite lack of innovation and the huge internal bureaucracy as greater sources of their collapse than any labor agreements.

    3. Do you want him to cite the individual sources of the information?

      Um, yes. Specifically about “the average Republican politician is less rich than his or her Democratic counterpart”, “There is more income disparity within the Democratic party than there is in the GOP” and “check the giving of the average corporate fat cat and you’ll see it skewing Left”.

      And while I still do like Turbo’s hypocrisy, your “Conservatives lose arguments because stupid rich commie liberals don’t accept everything we say as fact” is a winner. Jnero/Turbo 2012!

    4. Fact- your supposedly factual screed against the illogical nature of liberals is itself riddled with circular and specious logic. THIS IS VERIFIABLE! I would cite the post but since its already on this page and was written by you it should be easy to check your sources.

    5. Democrats can take Detroit if Republicans want to take the entire South. Throw in most of the Southwest, and Midwest (anywhere outside the large metropolitan areas) and you have yourself a deal.

      If the coasts are wealthier, and liberal, (and solidly Democratic), then by that logic the Democrats must be doing something right. If the interior of the country is poorer, and conservative, (and solidly Republican), then by that logic the Republicans must be doing something wrong. These are just a few of the ‘facts’ that I extracted from your hysterical flailing.

    6. Fact – The coasts are wealthier than the rest of the country. They also tend to be more liberal.

      They’re also older, and more expensive to live in, and have more developed infrastructure.

      Fact – Those with lower income tend to vote Democrat because they get increased social services under Democratic administrations.

      That’s not a fact. That is an opinion. I get no social services and I generally vote Democratic. I am also not wealthy, just barely getting by in fact.

      Fact – Detroit is a mess. There are lots of reasons for that, but the main reason is because the car companies failed.

      No it isn’t. The main reason Detroit is a mess is because the car compmanies that Detroit built took all the money they made out of Detroit.

      But here’s the awesome part about you. You almost managed to make this a partisan issue.

      I’d be equally annoyed with a Democratic politician who whined about 174K/annum as being inadequate.

      This is not a partisan issue, it just isn’t.

      1. I love you.. as well as Haakon IV.

        (Going off on my own limb) – It is not a matter of Republican or Democrat but rather “what the hell, what kind of standards and priorities do politicians have when the ‘struggling’ one is making three times as much as his constituents… in a notoriously broke state?”

        I am seriously beginning to believe that modern politics is killing us.

      2. I’d be equally annoyed with a Democratic politician who whined about 174K/annum as being inadequate.

        This is not a partisan issue, it just isn’t.

        So would I, but sure it’s a partisan issue, if for no other reason than the fucktard who said this is Republican. And I hope his statement is used against him in a very partisan way.

        But what I really want to know is, Oh People of Wisconsin, what motivated you to elect these people? You’ve got a union-busting governor, an Assembly Speaker who thinks he can ignore judicial restraining orders, and now a congressman who publicly whines about how tough it is to live on $174K a year.

        (And a Republican party that’s apparently never heard of the Streisand Effect.)

        1. It surely will be a partisan issue, as it would be if he were a democrat. Making that kind of money and whining about it is just not okay, left or right.

    7. “Fact – The coasts are wealthier than the rest of the country. They also tend to be more liberal.
      Fact – Those with lower income tend to vote Democrat because they get increased social services under Democratic administrations.”

      Aren’t these kind of contradictory “facts”?

    8. “That concept is foreign to conservatives, and that’s why we tend to lose arguments even when we have the facts, the evidence, and the truth on our side.”

      So, um, how’s that whole evolution-denial thing going for you?

    9. Detroit failed because it’s been building poorly-designed, overpriced, unreliable cars for over 40 years now. You can blame unions all you want but I haven’t ever owned an American car because it’s a bad investment of my hard-earned money.

      In retail, if you don’t sell enough product to make a profit, you fail. That’s simple capitalism. Everything else is secondary.

    10. He provided the facts! Do you want him to cite the individual sources of the information?

      Yes. And I’d like you to give citations for your assertions too. That is, if you want me to believe those are facts.

    11. jnero #34 “Fact – Those with lower income tend to vote Democrat because they get increased social services under Democratic administrations.”
      Fact – Poor people tend not to vote at all. But when they do…
      Fact – Poor brown people don’t vote for the Party that race-baits using them as the bait (see also: Meximericans, homosexuals and other GOP outgroups). The poor, angry white male, meanwhile, will vote to take food out of his own mouth if it means that their “Other” starves too.

      “Fact – Detroit is a mess. There are lots of reasons for that, but the main reason is because the car companies failed. Why did the car companies fail? Because of their high labor costs. Why did they have high labor costs? Because of the unions.”
      No.
      1. Both unions and management thought the money train would keep getting bigger. Both negotiated packages that put the cost in the future.
      2. The future came, but it eventually included a rebuilt Japan and Germany, both had the right cars at the right time (Beetle, Civic, etc) and both relentlessly improved their products (while Detroit took ages to get over the idea that an inexpensive car didn’t have to feel cheap, or that selling an 80’s K-car or J-body in the mid 1990s was idiotic).
      3. And what was Detroit’s solution to become more competitive? They, not bothering to figure out how to work better, told the workers on the line to work faster, which resulted in cars that were as badly put together as they were engineered.
      4. And the foreign competitors steadily expanded their lines (Acura, Lexus, pickups, etc), as Detroit retreated. While Toyota was moving up with cars like the LS400, Detroit was putting Caddy badges on a Cavalier.

      Yes, unions raise costs. No, it’s not by that much. It’s $500 a car or something*. Heck, Ford can make that cost up just by swapping the Ford emblem on the hood with a Mazda one.

      * Note that a fair chunk of estimates greater than that are either: based on partisan math, or ignore that the US is competing with countries with far cheaper socialized healthcare.

    12. >Why did the car companies fail? Because of their high labor costs. Why did they have high labor costs? Because of the unions. Who do unions support? The Democrats. Thus, the Democrats ran Detroit for 50 years.

      Darn those Democrats and their horrible car designs! They ruined Detroit!

      What this country needs is a good five-cent SUV.

      P.S. As usual, labor unions ruin everything. If not for labor unions, piss-poor management would never have to compete and fail. Curse you, Charles Darwin.

      P.P.S. Okay, this is why I don’t comment too often. My maxaphors get metaed up.

  11. I wonder how much more he’d be complaining if he didn’t have that government healthcare plan for his 6 kids?

  12. Someone should hook him up with one of the local food banks. They’ll give you a box of canned food to help tide you over until the next paycheck.

  13. What saddens me more is not the fact checking, or the fact this guy has douche written all over him, but the glaring obvious thing no one has pointed out:

    When you can’t manage your own finances, WTF DO I WANT YOU RUNNING THE COUNTRY?

    -and if you have 6 kids, odds are once you get some more money/power you’ll end up with a mistress and in a decade this will be all over the evening news.

    (Besides the voting process I’d like to see an obstacle course with problem solving skills and a Thunderdome cage match to determine the elected. This should be sparta.)

  14. He should take part in a Road Rules Gauntlet for the chance to win $20,000 cash, a Sansa MP3 player, and bungee jump in exotic Belize.

  15. You know, if it weren’t for factory-busting unions and liberal do-gooders with their child labor laws, Duffy’s kids could be helping the family make ends meet.

    I tell you, this country started going down hill when those damn hippies made it OK to wear tennis shoes alla the time. Put lots of shoe shine boys out of business. And unless Horatio Alger was just telling stories, boot-blacks inevitably end up as titans of industry.

    1. I lay it at the feet of that notorious Democrat, John Kennedy.

      He didn’t wear a hat at his inauguration, and everything went to hell.

  16. Mean Republican Congressman Net Worth $6,301,204.38
    Median Republican Congressman Net Worth $906,757.00

    Mean Democrat Congressman Net Worth $6,708,625.51
    Median Democrat Congressman Net Worth $1,047,265.00

    Source http://www.opensecrets.org/

    Based on Average worth and quick database source….this is a ball park estimate….bottom line:

    NONE OF THESE GUYS ARE PARTICULARLY POOR

  17. 6 kids? This is insane. I think any children after the third should have to be eaten by the parents.

  18. Six kids!! No wonder the Republicans are trying to destroy Planned Parenthood. Apparently they don’t believe in birth control.

  19. If you had kept it in your pants, you wouldn’t have six kids.

    And then the excessive salary we pay worthless people like you would be sufficient.

    But I *do* hope you get some additional “compensation.” I just can’t say exactly what I have in mind.

  20. By and large, poor people don’t vote for either Democrats or Republicans. Poor people tend not to vote.

    In households making $10k/year or less, only 52% are registered, and of those registered, only 41% actually bother to vote. So that’s a 20% voting rate.

    In the $50k-75k range, 73% are registered, and 66% of those vote — a 50% voting rate.

    Over $150k, 82% are registered, and 78% of those vote — a 64% voting rate.

    1. Well, CLEARLY the poor people are using their hard-earned welfare money sitting around plotting ways to earn more welfare money to have time to vote. Oh, drugs, alcohol, single mothers, crack, handout, lazy, handout, unions, handout, deadbeat dads. Oh, and Jesus.

    1. Reading the article about rich/poor Dem/Repub split, said that it seems to correlate better with how heartily they worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
      The more religious tend Republican.

  21. I think all the arguments about wealth and Democrats vs. Republicans miss the important point here: Someone from The Real World/Road Rules franchise is in Congress. Just let that sink in. Now it’s only a matter of time before one of the girls from “16 and Pregnant” is in the Senate.

  22. Hey, Rep. Duffy, if you are having problems making ends meet, I’ll hire your wife and kids for $1/week.

    It’s not a real, “Pay taxes” kind of job, but I can probably find some work for them.

  23. This just in!

    Conservatives don’t understand how planned parenthood can save money for the populace and the government.

    *ironic face*

  24. Also, he seems to be overlooking the fact that if he stops making idiotic faux paus like these, he can look forward to millions of dollars of grift over his lifetime of terms.

  25. It is expensive to live in dc, but…

    The guy sleeps in his office.

    Eats in the House cafeteria.

    Personal hygiene taken care of in the House gym.

    Free parking at work and at the airport.

    Office pay for his phone, internet, mail, ect.

    What does he have to pay for?

  26. BTW, everybody who’s sympathizing with Duffy over the cost of running two households and the high rents in Washington, D.C. should bear in mind that one of Duffy’s “I’m a thrifty guy” talking points is that he doesn’t rent an apartment in DC.

    When he stays in DC, he sleeps in his office.

    1. When he stays in DC, he sleeps in his office.

      Theatrics or true necessity if he got some of his other costs under control? Nice attempt, but his salary is nearly three times the average for other Wisconsin residents. He needs to trim the fat elsewhere in his life, obviously.

      This reminds me of how the idiot WI governor claims teachers are sucking away all the money after he gives all those kickbacks to his corporate buddies… and hopes no one notices that “little tidbit” and all the while the complicit right-wing radio bastards keep covering for him.

      Half truths are still LIES.

      Theatrics. More slimy republican theatrics designed to distract the public from their shitty actions against the American public.

      Despicable.

  27. I have only one thing to say to those of you defending Duffy: if he has nothing to hide, why is he trying to hide it? You may think what he’s doing is OK or normal, but apparently even he doesn’t believe that.

    1. $174K a year and he can’t even buy condoms?

      Right… 6 kids… 6 kids… 6 kids…

      Oh, but he can afford them (condoms), but who wants to put evil sin-bags on your cock in front of the Jeebus?

      God is always on the lookout for people putting rubber bags on their dick. Remember, God is republican and keeps himself very busy watching how and why people have sex just so he can spend his entire existence disciplining his little rascal earth-gimps.

      You can’t blame the dude for desperately and wildly pro-creating so he’s not sent into a sizzling inferno, can you?

  28. Streisand effect, indeed. I did my part in uploading a clip of it on YouTube just a few minutes. There are already dozens, at least.

    Honestly, is the Republican Party run by clueless ancient people over 80 years old? Wait, don’t answer that.

    1. Ditto, but to Vimeo. Plus I’m hosting a copy of the mp4 for download.

      Go fuck yourselves GOP!

  29. Sometimes, the campaign commercials just write themselves, don’t they? A loop of this could get SpongeBob elected over this self-pitying scumball in 2012.

  30. Who really cares if Democrats are richer than Republicans? There is only one party saying that lower income people need to take the hit for everyone whilst protecting their and their buddies’ sweet, sweet incomes. That party is Republican, and this guy represents exactly what’s wrong with them.

  31. Wait, what? Why should we be sympathetic to a guy who chooses to breed and live beyond his means?

    Apparently a six figure income instills a great sense of entitlement. I suggest that he show some humility regarding his personal and professional fortune, be responsible, and scale back on more than just his car.

    I started writing a much longer response, but that’s it in a nutshell as far as I can see.

  32. I don’t understand why so many of you seem to be missing the point of this article, it’s just crazy. The point is this whiny jerk gets paid an obscene amount of money and still bitches, while 99% of the rest of the world, including right here in the US, gets by on far, FAR less.

    Maybe Mr. Duffy could visit the above mentioned Detroit, or watch video on Haiti to help himself find a clearer prospective?

    But wait! Two homes and six children? OMG, that changes everything! No one could survive without two homes, or afford birth control for his wife on only $174,000! This is just appalling, he should be paid twice as much, at least!

    What the average pay rate is, or whether he’s a republican or democrat is completely irrelevant here. Mr. Duffy is just an ungrateful and sad excuse for a human being, period.

  33. Both of his houses are in Wisconsin. That’s what the article says. Nothing to do with having a job in DC.

    The guy is stretched thin because he has chosen to live beyond his means. Not exactly a role model.

  34. 147K/year..

    That’s plenty to afford a vasectomy if condoms are really too complex for him to use. And he wouldn’t even have to do the operation himself.

  35. It is bad form to complain about how hard it is to make ends meet, when talking to people who make less than you do.

    It is really bad form when you are a politician talking to a group of your constituents. They might start wondering what you will be doing to make up the difference.

  36. 174K a year is enough to house, clothe, feed, school, and service reasonable amounts of debt for 5 families of 4 (at ~35K per year per family), or 20 people (10 of which are school age children). Given that they’re all in one household and they only have eight, shouldn’t there be an economy of scale going on there? I mean that includes 750 dollars a month mortgage payment (insurance included) with a paid-off car that is insured liability only and after-school tutoring for the children and an average $200 – per – month electric bill. Hell, it could handle a $300/month car payment if the car’s /not/ paid off. It could even handle a $1000/month mortgage payment if you don’t go on vacations!

    2900 per month – 750 mortage on a 120000 30 year 7% mortgage – 300 car payment – 50 insurance – 300 gasoline – 200 electric – 200 miscellaneous debt servicing = 1300 a month for food. That ~330 per month per person for food, or 11 bucks a day for food – or just over three and a half dollars per meal, which is certainly enough if you eat at home or pack a lunch! Cereal and milk certainly doesn’t cost $3.50 a bowl!

    174K per year is 14500 per month, so let’s throw 2000 at the mortgage, 2000 at another mortgage,(that’s TWO 300k homes with 30 year mortgages with ~6% interest) 2000 at miscellaneous debt servicing (Yes, that’s right, some financiers are making ~17K a year off this guy’s debt at 20% interest), 1000 at electric. That’s 7000 so far – or slightly less than half of the income! Let’s make a 500 car payment, 100 insurance, 400 for gasoline – there’s another thousand, 6 left. Another 500 for another car, and 100 and 4 (wife needs a car too!) – 5 K left (or ~2k more than the family of four who are buying a car, a house, and eating at home). Let’s say we are generous, and budget 3.5k per month for food – that’s ~430 per person per month for food, or 14 and a half dollars per person per meal!

    AND A THOUSAND BUCKS LEFT OVER EVERY MONTH

    WHAT THE EVER LIVING FUCK IS THIS MAN SPENDING HIS MONEY ON

    (wait, he’s a catholic republican, so obviously the thousand a month goes to his boytoy)Health and Life insurance payments. clearly. He’s a public employee after all. *eyeroll*

    1. I mean that includes 750 dollars a month mortgage payment

      While I agree with the general sentiment of your post, where I live there ain’t no mortgage payment that’s going to come anywhere near under $2300/month for a small apartment.
      There is a huge variation on the value of real estate depending on location and some jobs require you to be in a specific location (although I do believe I would be fired if I were to attempt sleeping in my office).

  37. Guess he’ll have to do what working people do – put his wife to work. I also heard that one of the states (Utah, Maine?) is trying to repeal child labor laws. He should probably put his kids to work too. Maybe then he’ll realized what hundreds of thousands of people have to do every single day just to put food on the table and keep 1 roof over their head. What a greedy, self-centered douchebag. Republicans are always lecturing the poor and working class about personal responsibility and living within their means; this guy chose to be a politician. If he didn’t know what that meant financially then he’s the idiot, unless his entire focus was on all the entitlements (medical care, pension, etc) and financial incentives he would get from the government and lobbyists.

  38. And to think I’ve been scraping by on 12k a year. Yes, running two households is expensive, as are children, but he is making plenty to get by. If he’s been fighting to keep the water from being turned off, his mortally necessary medications on hand, and at least two meals eaten a day, then I’ll start to give a crap.

    That said, all this trashing people for having children, and taking care of them, is beyond bullshit. As if YOU were never born yourself. Who are you to judge how many children someone should have, especially if they are taking the responsibility of raising them seriously? I come from a family of six children, and I’d hate to imagine any of my siblings not being here. My parents were in no shape or form greedy careless people. Or Republican, for what it’s worth.

    1. I think it’s more irritation with the subset of people who have lots of children, are against social welfare for poor families with many children, and then complain about having to financially support their own children.

    2. From an cold logic standpoint, you’re wrong. I support the right of people to do whatever they want (including insecto-spawn), provided they stay responsible for the spawn they create. Therein lies the problem: parents are only held responsible for their spawn for 18/21 years.

      The onus is on you, S. Ellis, to provide a reason why it is acceptable for two people to create 6. Maybe in a place where child mortality is high, but in the US? It is quite hard to rationalise without the ultimate reason becoming “cos I want to”. In any case, no one has said the guy shouldn’t have so many kids, just that he shouldn’t include that fact as a talking point in an unconvincing sob story about how he is on struggle street.

      I notice some pathetic Republican turd has already adjusted my additions to the Streisand Effect Wikipedia page. They also took offense to the previous bit about Wikileaks as well… We must be dealing with really lame people here.

      “OMG, this truth doesn’t fit with the way I want things to be! I’d better edit it”

      Republicans are walking down a path of increasing irrelevance. Can’t you just stick them all in Texas and be done with it? I’m tired of my days being filled with reading the latest bullshit from those morons.

    3. I have more siblings than you, so I am in a better place to judge. It’s quite simple: In the world we live in today there are simply too many people and we arn’t taking care of the ones that are already HERE, so maybe we shouldn’t be making a bunch more.

      Besides that, in a NORMAL family, ones that arn’t making shitheaps of money anywhere near $174,000, raising six kids (or seven in my family’s case) isn’t easy to do. The more children you have, the less time and money you have to spend on the ones who came before, plain and simple.

      You may have also noticed a trend these days where parents spend less and less time with their children due to their job or whatever, so this is another factor why having so many might be a bad idea. And does having six really make a parent happier that maybe just two? I don’t think so, I don’t know how anyone could argue that.

      If poor Mr. Duffy had thought of these things, maybe he wouldn’t be dealing with such a heavy financial burden. ;)

    4. I imagine that your parents are probably a lot older than this congressman, so you shouldn’t be taking this personally. Decades ago it was more socially acceptable to have lots of kids. This isn’t decades ago. Most or all of this congressman’s kids were conceived in the last 10 years. I’m sorry but in this day and age, having six children is selfish, socially irresponsible, and serves no useful purpose to the world at large.
      Just for illustrative purposes, have a look at the world population:
      http://galen.metapath.org/popclk.html

      1. “No useful purpose?” “Irresponsible?” Most of the developed world, including the US, has sub-replacement fertility rates. Read up on what this means for a society and economy. Or ask anyone in Japan. The US and other countries have been able to compensate with increased immigration but still, having more children is actively encouraged in most of these countries.

        1. Right, because the majority of Earth’s problems cannot be traced to overpopulation by any stretch of the imagination. If only we had more people, then everything would be alllll-right.

          Or is it the fact that the current economic machine makes all its money (for those in the top 5%) from the idyllic concept of endless growth?

          When do we outgrow a economic governance system that bases all of its wealth accumulation on things that are bad for us and our host planet?

          1. Right, because the majority of Earth’s problems cannot be traced to overpopulation by any stretch of the imagination. If only we had more people, then everything would be alllll-right.

            I never said that. I personally think Earth would be better off without us.

            All I said was that more births are a stated goal of many developed nations. If you can solve the very real (social and societal) problems associated with a shrinking population by skilled immigration (from overpopulated places), fine. I’m a big fan of immigration. Doesn’t work for every country though. Sometimes for stupid reasons, sometimes for good ones.

  39. As stupid as what he said was, I’m equally amazed that people involved in politics believe that video that’s on the internet can somehow be sucked back out of the internet. If only they could find which tube it’s hiding in.

  40. I hate to say this, but I do wonder if this Rep. Sean Duffy will have the last laugh when all is said and done?

    After using legislation to coddle the Koch brothers (and other corporatists of their ilk) during their sometimes short stints in public office, these political lackeys get to suck off the Koch teet as reward until their dying days after leaving office.

    It’s lucrative to be a Republican piece of shit with no true ethics who doesn’t care what the public thinks about them as long as they get to live a lavish lifestyle in a gated community after they serve their masters while “in office”.

    It’s not to say that Democrats don’t do this too, but the Republicans have made it into sort of an perfected art form at this point. Fuckin’ sociopaths.

  41. Well, six kids he’s willing to tell people about…

    Geez, all he’s got to do is sell a few of those sweet sweet votes on important legislative matters to the highest bidder, and he’ll be set for the duration of his current term, at least.

  42. Im sure the top 1% of the nation’s wealth (you know, the bankers and wall street execs and oil corporation jerkoffs) are sitting back and laughing at the internet flogging of this father of 6’s measly $174,000 a year salary.

    Tell me again why we’re wasting our time talking about this when there is real extortion, theft, and legal tax shelters designed specifically for corporations to literally destroy communities for huge profit? And not to mention the 720 MILLION a day the Iraq War cost?

    I mean, I hate to point out the obvious, but has anyone considered, even for a second, that congress-persons might actually DESERVE $174,000 a year in salary? Or maybe if the salary was 38k a year, there’d be no incentive to become a lawmaker and a bunch of stupid laws would get passed? Seems to me like theres a whole lot of self-righteous talk around here, without regard to the fact that its necessary to pay people for the jobs they do.

    Did this guy handle the situation perfectly? No. But I believe what he did was just a noob failed attempt at saying “Look, Im not struggling, but Im also not rich, so Im more like you than you think.”

    I mean, do we really need to ride a guy who’s ride is a minivan?

    1. “I mean, do we really need to ride a guy who’s ride is a minivan?”

      Why, yes. yes we do. This is why Democrats lose a lot–pulling a well-aimed and well-deserved punch at the moment it could do some good. It’s an opening to take a clean, fair shot in a generally unfair fight in front of bribed referees.

      The guy carries water for people who think of someone like him as “the help,” if they think of him at all. In public he scolds those who talk complain about their daily struggles yet does the same in private. He gets caught doing it on camera, as unappealingly as possible. And he knows he’s busted, so he doubles down on the douchiness.

      If the video is legally suppressed come November, act it out with hand puppets, with “video recording SUPPRESSED” at the bottom of the screen.

      1. Exactly. Compare the nonsensical “Obama is Kenyan” or “Kerry is French” meme with the actual “McCain was born in Panama”. More people likely believe Obama was born in Kenya than are aware McCain was born in Panama.

  43. only $174,000 (plus benefits) paid to him every year

    Every year? The number of years in which he has received that salary is zero.

    When he spoke he had received one month’s pay check, and said he didn’t feel particularly rich, but averred his view might change once he received a few more.

    How is this view in any way exceptional or exceptionable?

    1. precisely where do you believe that $174k/yr is close to the median income household (which i think would be a reasonable consensus view on what “not a lot of money” means)?

      please don’t say DC or even NYC, because you’d be way, way wrong (which of course means that other popular choices like SF are out too). the fact is, there is nowhere in this country where $174k/yr doesn’t put you in the upper reaches of the household income charts. the media doesn’t like to portray the US in this way very often, so its entirely understandable if you have some gut feeling that most people make $80-$150k/yr. However, out there in the real USA, median household income (even in very expensive metropolitan areas) is about $50k/yr (+/- 10k for geography).

      Our culture and media like to spend large amounts of time focusing on the lives of people who have been (relatively speaking) very financially successful, which skews our perceptions of “normal”. as was mentioned up-thread, even in a city like DC, the median household income is still only $58k/yr. this endless focus on the lives of people (real and fictional) who make 3+ times the median income dramatically skews our gut feelings about what a “normal” life looks like to the point where (as in the case of congressman Duffy’s family) stuff like hired help is just part of the scenery rather than an indication that you’ve made it into the upper layers of american society.

  44. Oh for pete’s sake… a $174k in Polk county is a lot of money, and most of DC is not that expensive. Nobody forced this idiot to have 6 kids, then have the nerve to complain that his salary is not enough. We have 4 kids in WI and get by on $40k. What an ass hat.

  45. “I mean, I hate to point out the obvious, but has anyone considered, even for a second, that congress-persons might actually DESERVE $174,000 a year in salary? Or maybe if the salary was 38k a year, there’d be no incentive to become a lawmaker and a bunch of stupid laws would get passed?”

    Well, there’s good arguments for that very thing. In ancient greece, everyday people were chosen each year to serve as the law makers. It was considered your duty.

    Now that’s a republic, which we’re not, but it’s not to say it wouldn’t work.

    If you’re saying that only professional career politicians could properly understand law and order, then what is your view of a trial by jury? Your have a judge and lawyers but the ultimate decision is made by a collection of every day people.

    An argument could be made that that is similar to the public voting for a professional who’s views represent them the most… but that would invalidate BOTH trial by jury and professional politicians as a “garbage in, garbage out”.

  46. Can’t he just cut out the collective bargaining with the kids and wife? Just say no to the ipod, ipad, new clothes, college fund and doctor visits? That would save him a lot of money!

  47. I’m late to this game, but I’d like to address a couple of things.

    First, Detroit proper is rather impovrished. There are many reasons. Least amongst them is union labor. Now, one merely has to travel a scant 2 miles north of the Detroit border to find upper middle-class median incomes. Oakland County (the one just north of Wayne County where Detroit is located) is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. It’s up there with Westchester and Orange. This county is included as part of the Detroit metro area. Or do y’all always exclude your suburbs when speaking of your city?

    Second, this congresscritter is moaning and groaning that he just can’t get by on $14,500 a month. I tell you what, dude, I’ll trade you salaries. In the four years of your term I’ll have my totally underwater mortgage paid off, my car paid off, my remaining student loans paid off, my kitchen remodeled, both bathrooms remodeled, the last room of carpet replaced with wood flooring, a new front entry, the stairs re-tred, the garden expanded, a small greenhouse built, and fully replace our sidewalk. Best of all, I’ll still have money left over to sock away for junior’s university expenses. If we had a lousy $20k more, net, coming in each year, we could accomplish all of the above, minus the mortgage, in the same time period.

    In short, sirah, go fuck yourself.

  48. In ancient greece, everyday people were chosen each year to serve as the law makers. It was considered your duty.

    Now that’s a republic, which we’re not, but it’s not to say it wouldn’t work.

    The system you describe didn’t even work for the Greeks. After a few years they started paying citizens to take part because the lower classes were under-represented on account of needing to work for a living.

  49. My wife drives a used minivan too. And as a full time student she is currently making $10,000 a year in her internship for her Doctorate program.

    I’m confused. He has his law degree and spent all those years on Real World and Road Rules and doing MTV crap….has he EVER WORKED A DAY IN HIS LIFE!?!?

    WTF is wrong with this nation and its people that jackholes like this are actually elected?! He has never done a damn thing, and people are foolish enough to expect him to lead?!

    He got married in 99…its now 2011 and they have 6 kids. Has she ever NOT been pregnant?! WTF…get a hobby you idiots!

    And its not about being Christian…my wife and I are born again, we had our third a few years ago and she looked at the OBGYN and said “While you are down there, make damn sure this crap doesn’t ever happen again!!!”

    Seriously…idiots like this make me want to bomb ourselves.

    1. Hey hey, watch it there with remarks like that, you might start finding black vans parked outside your home or getting extra special attention at the airport these days. :p

      But I agree about him not having done a day’s work, he’s probably never gotten his hands dirty or had to worry about food and shelter or bills.

      Maybe one of us should copy this entire post and send it to Mr. Duffy? :D But egh, I don’t think it would wind up on his desk in the first place, and he wouldn’t care even if he did read it.

  50. And don’t forget about the tax breaks he gets for pumping another one out every year and a half or so. $22,200 in exemptions, and somewhere around three grand in Child Tax Credit, post phase-out. And we’re not even counting whatever he’s putting on Schedule A.

    And I bet he gets, among other things, a generous travel allowance every time he gets in his beat-up old minivan to buy milk…er…go to the Capitol to vote. When all is said and done, I would be shocked if he paid even a nickel in income taxes, or spent a penny of his salary.

    1. And while we’re on the subject, it’s my understanding that US congresspersons get fully paid health care. Just looking at normal expenses, not major illness, what’s the annual value of that for a family of eight?

  51. Republican welfare king. Isn’t that all they do huh? Sit around and squeeze out babies that we have to pay for?

  52. S. Ellis

    > I come from a family of six children, and I’d hate to imagine
    > any of my siblings not being here.

    You and your siblings didn’t have a choice, but your parents did.

    teapot

    > In any case, no one has said the guy shouldn’t have so
    > many kids, just that he shouldn’t include that fact as
    > a talking point in an unconvincing sob story about how
    > he is on struggle street.

    I’ll say it: no one should have six kids. If everyone has six kids, we’ll get to the hot crowded Mumbai of a planet that sucks to live on (unless you’re rich enough to live in an enclave) even faster than we are now. We’re already having resource shortages (fresh water, food) without a six-kids-per-family population surge. It’s like being greedy.

    agreenster

    > Or maybe if the salary was 38k a year, there’d be no incentive
    > to become a lawmaker and a bunch of stupid laws would get passed?

    Or maybe you’d get people doing it because they care about it instead of doing it for the money.

    Although I agree you’d have a hard time getting people who need to work for a living.

  53. Population growth is the same as economic growth. The predominant opinion is that they can continue, at any rate, indefinitely, when such a situation is obviously impossible.

    While there isn’t a salary that would make corruption impossible, paying someone with such power 38k a year is asking him to take kickbacks.

  54. re: “how can that be a fact? Voting is annoymous. ”

    Polls.

    FWIW – median income isnt’t the same as ‘a lot of money’.

    Especially if you want 2 of your 6 kids to go to college someday.

    I guess he has it better than a lot of people. Better than me, but I don’t think he is living on the hog, either.

    1. I said:

      … median income (which i think would be a reasonable consensus view on what “not a lot of money” means)?

      your subtle inversion of what I said totally hides my point that 3x the median is, by most people’s standards, “a lot”.

  55. If you don’t do politics, politics will do you.

    Yes, must be rough trying to get by on only $174,000 per year. Kind of ironic coming from a member of the party of, “It wouldn’t be fair to employers to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour ($15,080 per year) with no benefits.”

    Add to it that, the minimum-wage employee pays Social Security on 100% of income while the congressman receives the last $67,200 of his income SS-tax-free. (Congresspeople DO pay SS tax, but the SS cutoff is $106,800. Nobody pays SS tax after the first $106,800 of earned income.)

    And six kids. Maybe we taxpayers should give him a bonus for each of them, or something?

  56. What I see in that video is a bit of incompetent politicking by a freshman rep whose background and education (reality TV to provincial public and private law practice) did not prepare him for having to not just think on his feet but think *before* he got onto them to speak to his constituents.

    I haven’t re-viewed the video for a couple days, but I recall that the initial question was whether he thought *he* should take a pay cut. Duffy apparently didn’t have the wit to realize how tactless it sounds to tell people who make a quarter to a third of his pay (maybe a handful hit half to two-thirds) that everybody has to belt-tighten and, hey, he’s just another regular Joe with bills to pay and a family to feed. A competent staff would have prepped him about what parts of his personal background to soft-pedal, how to deal with the possible blowback from supporting budget cuts for services that voters might need or sympathize with–while at the same time maintaining a more than comfortable lifestyle for his own rather large family (a vacation home is not something everyone in his part of Wisconsin can afford).

    Having his local party hacks follow up by trying to pull the troublesome video (with a half-assed copyright excuse) is just pasting a sequin over the facial zit.

    BTW, that $174 would seem to be only part of the family income, given his wife’s various media-world side-gigs, which makes his just-getting-along story even harder to swallow.

    (BTW-2: While the size of his family might help to locate him in a political-cultural space, it isn’t absolutely central to the question of how seemly his poor-mouthing is. And as political discourse, denigrating him for this personal decision is a distraction from the really useful aspects of this hoohah.)

  57. This is a typical Democratic response. They make an unsupportable argument with no backing and no sound reasoning. They then base all future arguments on the false premises they put forward.

    Sounds more like Rush Limbaugh than any Dems I know

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