Ted Cruz’s Charitable Instincts During a Gov’t Shutdown

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September 30, 2013; The Island Packet


Last week, on Friday, as he was leading the nation into the abyss of a possible government shutdown over FY2014 funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced that he would continue to collect his paycheck, without regard to the prospects of hundreds of thousands of other furloughed federal employees. As the clock ticked closer to the shutdown, Cruz backtracked and pledged to donate his paycheck during shutdown time to charity. Everyone should read that in light of whatever values they bring to the shutdown debate. Thanks, Ted!—Rick Cohen

  • Michael Wyland

    Cruz’s net worth is in the $1.5 – $3 million range (placing him 55th in net worth among Senators, according to opensecrets.org), so he can afford to forego his Senate salary. While it looks bad that he “flip-flopped” or changed his mind about his own salary, his decision to do so puts him in a small minority of House and Senate members.

  • Rick Cohen

    Michael: That’s one way of looking at it, but I guess I’m a little less charitable toward Cruz’s charitable demonstration. Having watched him throughout this debacle, I do think his behavior has been hard to appreciate. Now that he has, even against the advice of more than a few in his own party, brought the government to this impasse, his donated paycheck has to be weighed against the lost paychecks of the 800,000 to 1,000,000 furloughed “unessential” federal employees and other impacts that the shutdown will have on the U.S. economy.

  • Lisa Berlinger

    Not so fast, Rick! I wouldn’t be surprised if the “charity” to which Cruz donated is his father’s “ministry” that is
    seeking to bring “Christian” dominion to the US (and probably the world). Not all nonprofits are constructive.

  • Terry Fernsler

    And what about the cost of his health care benefits? Anyway, does his paycheck cover the cost of the poverty-alleviation benefits that thousands of people will lose while the shutdown continues?

  • Keith Oberg

    Sure, thank you Ted, for making up for the millions of dollars lost by the poor in Headstart, WIC, and other safety net programs this week…and thanks from federal employees, many of whom live paycheck-to-paycheck, not having the Ivy League law degree and the advantages thereof. And from the business community which depends on the rule of law and a predictable economic environment in which to make investment and hiring decisions. I must resort to irony, as alternatively there are words for you, but which are best not expressed in public.

  • Rocket J. Squirrel

    Of course this “magnanimous” gesture will not doubt be regarded as a tax deductible donation to some Tea Party PAC pretending to be a 501(c 3) nonprofit.

  • Michael Wyland


    My guess is that, for federal employees,the 2013 shutdown will work like the 1995 shutdown did. After 25 days or so of shutdown, Congress approved legislation that retroactively paid all the employees affected and treated them as though they had been working during the shutdown for benefit eligibility. It was a short-term problem, especially for those furloughed employees without savings or available credit, but they ended up not losing income or benefits.

  • Rick Cohen

    Rocky: Yes, that’s been the joke on late nite TV (actually a donation to his presidential campaign fund), though donations of that sort or to PACs are not tax deductible. However, if Sen. Cruz does donate to a legitimate 501(c)( 3 ) public charity, it will be a tax deduction.

  • Rick Cohen

    Michael: One would hope you’re right, but the sense that I get from the federal employee associations here in the Beltway is that they are quite fearful that they will get the retroactive furlough money this time around. The 1995 shutdown now looks like a demonstration of principle compared to this one, and the hostility toward federal government employees and services is kind of palpable in some quarters. What could move the government to provide the retroactive money is really the impact on the economy of the lost wages and other lost spending. With the sluggish jobs report that just came out, it’s pretty clear that the recovery is still far from robust. I’ve seen numbers, unverifiable of course, that suggest that a few weeks of this shutdown, with the furlough of 800,000 to 1,000,000 employees plus other cutbacks, will take an enormous economic toll, and THAT might move otherwise hostile congressmen to approve retroactive moneys. However, remember that the non-Obamacare portions of the CRs proposed by both parties involve significant spending reductions in and of themselves, and then we hit the debt ceiling…oh my!