*Congress rebukes Obama for dictatorial claim. It wasn’t the biggest issue to come before Congress in a long time. But as a straw in the wind, it could be significant. On July 9, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly (429 to 2) to tell President Obama he has to obey the law. The previous month, when he signed a supplemental appropriations bill, the President said he could ignore stipulations in it he didn’t like, such as how new funding for the International Monetary Fund could be used. Even Rep. Barney Frank criticized Obama, saying that “there is a kind of unilateralism, in an undemocratic, unreachable way, to these signing statements.”
*Where to find the least religious Americans. Recently, the Gallup Poll asked a cross-section of Americans if religion is an “important part” of their lives. Among those who answered “no,” you probably won’t be surprised to learn that New England had six of the top 10 states. Vermont led the way, with New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts following in second, third and fourth place.
*AARP demands more COLA. The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), which never met a government subsidy for seniors that it didn’t want made larger, is outraged that there will be no increase in Social Security checks next year. Seems that the folks who calculate cost-of-living expenses found that the index actually dropped 2.3 percent so far this year. Because prices kept rising for much of last year, seniors enjoyed an additional 5.8 percent in their Social Security checks this year. But of course, that’s not enough to satisfy the AARP.
*But federal paychecks keep rising. Now here’s a statistic that will frost your cookies. The pay gap between what employees earn in private industry versus those who work for the federal government is the largest in history. The average annual salary paid people in the civilian workforce is $49,935, while those who collect a paycheck from Uncle Sam pocket 58 percent more—a rather hefty $79,197 per year. Anyone want to argue that’s because they work so much harder or are so much smarter?