Sharing The Pain

You know, I don’t normally go in for what usually turn out to be empty, symbolic gestures, but I can really get behind the idea of cutting Congressional salaries. In fact, I think 10% is more like it! I also think we should charge them to use the medical clinic in the Capitol building, and they should have to pay for COBRA benefits when they lose their jobs, just like everybody else. It really galls me to think of them getting lifelong medical coverage:

Ann Kirkpatrick wants a pay cut and she’s getting testy about having to wait so long to get it.

Last March, U.S. Rep. Kirkpatrick sponsored legislation to cut congressional salaries a modest 5%, saying it was high time that Congress shared the pain with the rest of America. As U.S. workers have suffered layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs over the past two years, Congress has actually been spending more money than ever. In fact, if it hadn’t been for another bill that Kirkpatrick supported, Kirkpatrick and her colleagues in the U.S. legislature would have gotten automatic pay raises this year, as they did in 2008 and 2009.

The notion of cutting Congressional pay is wildly popular. A recent survey by the Rasmussen Reports found that 75% of Americans think members of Congress should cut their pay until the budget is balanced. And nearly one in eight think members of Congress should not be able to get a raise unless taxpayers vote for it.

As things stand, members of Congress set their own pay and they’ve been quite generous. Rank and file members of congress now earn $174,000 annually — more than about 97% of the rest of the country. That’s up 23% over the past decade.

3 thoughts on “Sharing The Pain

  1. The article is a little bit dishonest. The automatic pay raises went into effect in the 90s with the Republican congress so that they didn’t have to vote in favor of a pay increase. Someone would have to get a bill introduced to prevent the pay increase from going into effect and have it pass in order for the COLA increase to not happen.

  2. Let’s put the congress-critters pensions on the table too — since “we” are considering everything. I earned my pension with my social security deductions from my paycheck, why is it OK to cut my earned benefits but not theirs?

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