There are lots of ideas being thrown around as to what should be on the to do list of the new Republican congress. I’m going to chime in in favor of pay cuts for everyone as the #1 priority. I don’t think anyone is fooled anymore into thinking that being a congressman or a senator is such a challenging job that only the very few and well-educated can do it and must receive very high compensation to do so. I mean, come on, we’ve heard Cynthia McKinney on C-Span. My 4-year-old is more articulate.
So, when you hear that the base pay for a congressman is $174,000, does it make your head want to explode? Mine too. Can you imagine that we shelled out that kind of money to McKinney for almost 10 years? She’s dumber than a stone. Luckily, she’s not there anymore…but there’s plenty more like her that deserve their own column.
My point is, people who make $174,000 should have some skill at something. And if they don’t have skills, or can’t pass a basic intelligence test (Maxine Waters comes to mind), maybe they should be paid accordingly.
Beyond that, we need to remember that Congress works for us. We’re their employers. So really, we should set their salaries. Why is it that they get to vote themselves raises? I did the math, and even at a 40% pay cut, they would still clear $100,000 a year, not including benefits so good they’d make you cry.
Dan Proft, candidate for governor of IL in the primaries, once suggested that representatives’ pay should be tied to the median income of their state. When the median income goes up, so does their pay. If it goes down, so does their pay. Talk about incentive to help the people!
I did a little research on median incomes across the nation. Only in California in some very ritzy areas did I find a median income at $103,000. Everywhere else in the states I sampled (NY, CO, IL, AK, AL, OR) the median income was between 50k-70k. If our new congress wants to make a big impression and a move in the right direction, they’ll cut $100,000 out of every representatives’ salaries. Multiplied by 535 that equals $53,500,000. It may be a drop in the bucket in the face of the trillions in debt we are facing, but it would go a long way in keeping faith with the voters by getting into the trenches with us.
Congressmen shouldn’t be in it for the money. Washington shouldn’t be a place you go to make a fortune, but to uphold the law and speak on behalf of your constituents. Maybe if it wasn’t such a cushy job it would attract more worthy candidates and less gold-digging pond scum. Representatives that would serve the People and implement policies that would allow them to finish their term and go back to the private sector to make some real cash. I have no problem with $100,000 salaries when that money is made legitimately in private business and not by sucking the blood of the taxpaying victim.
Come on congress. Show us the money. And don’t offer up something insulting like 5%. Make it hurt.