Okay, now I’ve heard it all. I just read an article about congressional raises! Really? Raises for the fools on the hill? They’ve got to be kidding. After all the bullshit Congress has been up to the last few weeks how can our representatives possibly believe they deserve a raise? Their bullheadedness and refusal to compromise caused the shutdown of portions of the government putting hundreds of thousands of federal employees out of work and why, because the talking heads couldn’t have their way on Obamacare. Of course they continued to receive their paychecks while many of the very people they represent went without. They behaved like spoiled children and waited until the last possible moment to forge a bipartisan deal on the debt ceiling and reopening of the government. And what was gained by their tactics? Absolutely nothing worthwhile! All they did was buy a little more time, in a few months we’ll be deeper in debt and right back at square one. And they want a raise? With their popularity down to 11% ! All I can say is their timing really sucks!
To hear some in Congress talk you’d think they were grossly underpaid. But then how far can you stretch $174,000 these days? That’s right they make a cool $174,000, more if they’re in a leadership positions or committee chairmen. In addition they get other benefits and allowances as well and many members of Congress have outside earned income from their private careers and other business interests and investments which are permissible under Congressional rules. Yeah many of the talking heads on the hill do pretty damn well for themselves.
I suppose the argument for higher pay is that a better paid Congress is less likely to be corrupt or easily bribed and will do a better job of representation, but at $174,000 I would think bribery would be highly unlikely. Some people believe that higher pay would keep lawmakers on the job longer and relieve them of the temptation of jumping ship and taking higher paying positions in business or as lobbyist. They can make a hell of a lot of money as lobbyists, sometimes in the seven figure range so it would have to be one hell of a raise to keep them on the hill.
Better pay might also draw a higher caliber of candidate to the office, but the reality is that no one gets into politics because of the pay. Most of the folks on the hill come from money, nearly half of them are millionaires. No, most representatives enter office because they want to make a difference and would be there even if the pay was far less. They are idealistic and have a vision of what they believe is best for Americans and are prepared to go for it. Sadly over time the reality of how the wheels of Congress roll sets in and they realize that there is little that they can do on their own. They eventually lose touch with the life and struggles of everyday Americans and become insensitive to their needs, especial lifers, they are definitely out of touch. I don’t think making more money is going to make Congress anymore empathetic.
Do I believe they need a raise, no. Do I believe they deserve a raise, no, but if they really want to earn a bigger paycheck they need to do something substantial for the American people to earn it. They need to sit down, hash out their differences and bang out a bipartisan plan to save this countries economy. No more putting off til tomorrow what damn well needs to be done today! No that’s not right, what should have been done yesterday! If they want more pay then Congress, meaning all Republicans, Democrats, liberals, independents, conservatives and ultra conservatives need to work together for the common good. They all have something important to bring to the table, even the Tea Party radicals who spearheaded the recent closure. Although they are often seen as a radicals faction within the Republican and are mostly newly elected, their input is valuable and must be incorporated into any plan to save this countries economy. If they truly want a pay raise then they need to show us what they are capable of, put personal agendas aside and begin working together to stop this run away economic time bomb before it crashes and burns and takes our great country with it.
As far as I can tell at this point in time Congress is overpaid and should receive no monetary adjustments until they begin to do the job they were sent to Washington to do and dispense with all the bullshit. All raises should be performance based. You want more earn it! Prove your worth by providing for the common good of all Americans, get this country of ours on the road to economic recovery with a long term plan of action rather than coming up with these band aid, quick fix solutions that simply delay the inevitable. Get wit the program then we’ll talk raises. And do it quickly, times a wasting and our national debt isn’t getting any smaller. Besides, $174,000 a year just doesn’t go as far as it used to.