At a townhall meeting in Amery, Wisconsin last week, the “Real World’s” Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) exposed just how out of touch with ordinary Americans he is. According to progressive blog Rightguardia, one constituent — an underemployed construction worker — explained that his wife, a teacher, may have to take a cut in wages if Wisconsin’s draconian budget bill goes through. “I’m just wondering what your wage is and if you guys would be willing to take a cut,” he asked Duffy.
Displaying that delicate sense of empathy characteristic of conservatives, Duffy whined about his $174,000 congressional salary and his “used minivan.” When the man pointed out his salary was “three times what I make,” Duffy reassured him that “I have more debt than you.” “I’m not living high off the hog,” he added:
Constituent: But a hundred and seventy-four thousand, that’s three times — that’s three of my family’s — three times what I make.
Duffy: Well our budget…I moved to cut by 5 percent. I did. You know what, I have no problem..let’s have a movement afoot. I walked into this job 6 weeks ago..um that I worked incredibly hard for. And 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 off the hog, I’ve got one paycheck. So I..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 off the hog.
Duffy is certainly no Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a multimillionaire car alarm mogul. Like many Wisconsinites, he has several kids and, according to his financial disclosure statement, student loans and a mortgage to pay off. But Duffy’s salary is indeed about three times Wisconsin’s (and the national) median income. What’s more, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 7.4 percent statewide, and 8.2 percent in Wausau, a city Duffy represents.
Here’s the video of Duffy at the event — in which he also complains about his government health care package: