A Pay Raise For Congress? You’ve Got To Be Kidding

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Posted: Jun 17, 2019 12:46 PM
A Pay Raise For Congress?  You’ve Got To Be Kidding

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

What if you owned a business and you had an employee who refused to do his job?  He showed up, but all he ever did was bicker and complain. And what if that employee spent your business’ money without regard for how much your business was making, or how it jeopardized the well-being of other employees, or whether it threatened the very existence of the business itself?   And what if you were paying that employee 3 and a half times the average of all your other employees?  What would you say to that employee if he suddenly showed up demanding a pay raise?

That’s exactly what’s going on with the 535 members of Congress.  The regular member makes $174,000 per year.  Given her esteemed position as head complainer, the Speaker makes more: $223,500 per year.  Meanwhile the minority leaders in both the House and the Senate, as well as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, make $193,400 per year.

But according to those members of Congress, that’s not enough.  They’re demanding a $4,500 pay raise.  

Ah, you say, but look at the importance of their position.  Consider how much other highly educated, experienced, and important people make.

Ok, let’s.

According to the Census Bureau people with a doctorate make on average $81,400 per year.  Believe me when I tell you, very few members of Congress have doctorates.  In fact, only 3 members of the Senate and 10 members of the House hold PhDs.  Another 13 members are medical doctors.

That means a regular member of Congress makes more than twice the average pay as someone with a doctorate degree.

Yes, you say, but what about the fact that so many members of Congress are lawyers?  That’s true.  167 members of the House and 55 members of the Senate are, indeed, lawyers.  The average lawyer makes about $75,000 annually.   Likewise, someone with a Master’s Degree makes on average $72,824.  So a regular member of Congress makes about 2.3 times the average pay for a lawyer or the person with an advanced degree.

Here’s another interesting comparison.  The average American makes $50,321.89.  Their member of Congress makes about 3.5 times as much as they do.

The big difference is that the average American actually has to work for their money.

I say that only partly tongue-in-cheek.  Let’s face it, I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest we aren’t getting our money’s worth from Congress these days — unless you consider the fine art of finger pointing of high value.  Just for the record, I don’t.  But if you disagree, the question remains, are they worth a $4,500 pay raise?  

If it were up to me, they’d all go on minimum wage until they started acting like adults and did some heavy lifting for our country.

Playing politics with our tax dollars does not entitle you to anything. Refusing to take up tough issues just to deny the other side a win does not qualify you for a pay raise.  And tough issues are plentiful: immigration reform, border security, infrastructure improvements, entitlement reform, regulatory relief, health care fixes, and so much more.  But rather than matching their promises, and our problems, with hard work and new ideas, we get endless politics, false charges, and pointless investigations.  

In fact, nothing I see out of Congress these days justifies paying them what the average American makes, much less 3 and half times more.

But here’s another interesting tidbit.   At $174,000, a member of Congress is in the top 4% of wage earners in the United States.  At $223,500, Nancy Pelosi is in the top 3%.  And yet for all their ranting and railing over how the highly paid are taking unfair advantage of everyone else, Democrats seem not the least bit embarrassed to be among them.  Actually it seems to me, the biggest offenders of the rich taking advantage of regular folks are the members of Congress themselves.  They make huge money; refuse to do their jobs; and have zero qualms about sticking the rest of us with an outrageous debt we, our children, and our grandchildren will never be able to pay off.

If they were employees in a business you owned, I think I know what you’d do.  And yet how do we explain why 90% or more of our members of Congress get re-elected each year?  Why would you elect someone who makes more than 3 times what you make while sending you deeper in debt each year and refusing to address any of the issues that might make your life better?  Why would we elect such people who mistreat us, then demand a pay raise from us?

From what I can tell, it’s proof both that most voters aren’t actually paying attention and politicians really do make the best con artists.  Not only is it a stubby poke in their constituents' eye when they demand a pay raise, they should be red-faced even suggesting their current pay is just.  

Normally I’d say any effort spent trying to convince a swindler not to swindle is a waste, but it does seem to me that when politicians refuse to respond to reason, more motivation might come from fear of losing the next election.  It’s a message they desperately need to hear and we urgently need to act upon.