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THAT Took Chutzpah

Well, you can’t say they don’t have chutzpah (you can’t say that about Elon Musk either… but that’s a topic for another day). 

Citing pressure from our 435 apparently impoverished congressional representatives, the House Appropriations Committee voted on Thursday on whether or not to raise the annual salaries of House representatives. 

The committee voted no… perhaps because even people as mentally and morally deficient as our representatives know it’s bad optics for Congress to vote themselves a pay raise in the middle of an election year. That’s even more true when inflation is biting into all of our budgets… and the rest of us can’t simply vote to make more money.  

Just for grins, care to guess how much these parasitic windbags take home?

Rank-and-file congressmen make $174,000 per year… and the leadership make more. 

Now, with an annual $174,000 pay package, you’re not living a life of opulence, throwing $100 bills in the air and making it rain. But that’s still close to three times the annual income of the average American they claim to represent. 

And apart from the salary, congressional representatives also get healthcare and pension benefits that the rest of us don’t… and a $1.6 million expense account called the “Members’ Representational Allowance” that they can spend on staff, travel, and, presumably, lots of private dances at D.C. strip clubs. 

But that’s not all… 

Insider Information Is a Powerful Trading Tool

Apart from the cash and benefits, congressmen also have access to insider information that plenty of them use to trade stocks. Let’s not forget that Nancy Pelosi’s portfolio outperforms Warren Buffett’s (as reported here). 

It’s probably also worth noting that most companies would expect you to work long and demanding hours to command a $174,000 annual salary and a $1.6 million expense account. But Congress is generally only in session about 150 days per year. There are about 260 days in a normal work year, so your tireless representative gets 110 days – close to four months – of paid vacation. 

But here’s where the real chutzpah comes into play… 

Every time I’ve asked a boss for a raise, it was because I did something that I felt justified a reward. I closed a deal… I finished a project ahead of schedule… I made the company some money. Something!

So what have our poor, needy congressmen done to deserve their requested raise? 

Zero. Zip. Nada.

The current 118th Congress is measurably the least productive in modern history, managing to pass only 34 bills last year, the lowest annual number in decades. They’ve spun their wheels, accomplishing next to nothing. 

And yet…

Despite having virtually no legislative accomplishments, this Congress has – by some miracle – managed to spend about $6.5 trillion and to add more than $2.5 trillion to the national debt over the past year while throwing on another trillion every 100 days. 

So, let’s get this straight: They’ve managed to blow $6.5 trillion over the past year, of which 40% they had to borrow… and yet they have nothing to actually show for it. 

And to top it off, they think they deserve a raise!

The audacity!

If I had an employee who showed up for work only 150 days per year… accomplished nothing in the time he was at work… blamed his lack of productivity on his equally worthless coworkers on the other side of the floor… and yet still commanded a salary close to three times higher than the average American… 

I would fire him

And I wouldn’t wait for security to come with a cardboard box for his coffee mug and other personal effects. I would physically remove him from the building myself and shove him to the curb while I threatened to shoot him on sight if he ever tried to enter the building again. 

And yet…

Congressmen manage to stay employed for an average of nine years… and the average senator over 11 years. 

Do they really deserve a raise? 

Where’s my raise? 

Where’s my $1.6 million expense account and staff of underlings? 

Oh, right… I have to actually go out and earn those. 

I would love to tell you to go out and make your voice heard… speak your mind in the ballot box. But I know as well as you do that you’d be wasting your time.

Even if we were to get all 435 members of the House of Representatives and all 33 of the senators up for reelection this year fired, whoever replaced them would be just as bad. No decent and sane human being wants the job, so we’re left with a pool of the indecent and possibly insane to choose from. 

We’re on our own to navigate this Age of Chaos. 

However, while we can’t claim the same compensation as our “representatives”… we can take advantage of one of their perks: Their insider information.

You see, thanks to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, members of Congress and other federal employees must disclose any trade they make. 

Not all of them do, of course. But enough do so that we can take advantage.

For example, Senator Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, is one of the most active stock traders in either house of Congress. Earlier this year, he bought up to $50,000 in Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) stock, adding to a large purchase he made late last year.

He wasn’t the only one. Josh Gottenheimer, a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, also bought up to $60,000 in AMD in the first quarter of this year, adding to his holdings acquired in 2023.

Late last year, Republican U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama loaded up on Chevron (CVX), acquiring as much as $375,000 worth of stock in two separate purchases. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, also bought up to $15,000. And recently, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, invested up to $65,000 in Chevron.

I could go on and on… but you get the gist.

The question is, how do you follow these “insider information” trades?

You follow the money flow. When institutional investors, company leadership, and politicians are piling into a stock, you can bet your bottom dollar they know something we don’t. 

So do yourself a favor and start paying attention to the money flowing into and out of any stocks you’re interested in.

You can also get access to the MoneyFlow Indicator tool that I and subscribers to Freeport Alpha use to follow big capital waves with a click of a button. You can find out more here.

No matter what you choose to do, do it with chutzpah. If members of Congress can do it, why the hell not?

To life, liberty, and the pursuit of wealth.

P.S. By the way, exposing notable buying – including that by company insiders and Washington politicians – is what our newest Freeport Society contributor, Eddie Pan, lives for. Look out for some interesting and powerful insights from Eddie in upcoming issues.