T Nation

Congress' Raise. Are You Kidding Me?



A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.

Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.

what is the approval rating? 15%??


Looks like those clowns in Congress are at it again! What a bunch of clowns!

I remember my first economics professor would spend 10 minutes of every class just ranting about how Congress is full of "pigs at the trough". These people simply don't care about anything but money and power.


'Tis the season to bend over, la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.


Hypocrisy at its best.


The big problem is that conflict of interest situations are inherently bad and should always be avoided, wherever possible, out of principle.

Therefore Congress has no business deciding its own rate of pay for its members.

That matter should be decided by another body, perhaps the General Accounting Office, same as other Federal employees.

And of course with any action by any Congressmen that ever remotely appeared linked to retribution or reward for GAO decisions regarding Congressional pay to be a criminal matter.

Actually, if not for the unethical conflict of interest situation, Congressional pay is at a lower level than best serves American citizens.

Pay for Congress represents an absolutely trivial percentage of tax collection.

Better to pay more and get better people as a result.

For example a doctor friend who has been getting more and more active in trying to change government was actually starting to think about running for the seat in his district. I pointed out to him that he needs to forget it: he flat can't afford it.

The pay is not sufficient to cover maintaining his existing residence plus live in DC as well and still support his family.

There are Congressmen who, I am speaking quite literally and seriously, sleep in their offices because they cannot afford an apartment in DC while also covering their expenses back home.

Any successful professional would -- if not taking bribes -- be taking a severe pay cut to go to Congress. Therefore few such, unless they are corrupt or power-hungry, would take the job.

That doesn't best serve the country.


Perhaps each congressman should get paid according to what his STATE thinks he should get paid. You could let the state legislature, or governor, or even the people vote on pay raises.



Congress is guaranteed a raise every year I think UNLESS they vote against giving themselves a raise.

Should definitely be the other way round


I'm still waiting for this to happen. As far as my 25 years of political awareness goes - I have yet to see congress improving at all despite pay raise after pay raise.

I wish I could get a raise for doing nothing but ignoring the FDA, DEA, and AMA for no other reason than Bud Selig telling me to do so.

But I could be nothing more than a bitter SOB.


Wow, how many other jobs get a raise for sucking? I mean besides prostitutes. I guess hookers get a raise in more ways than one. Or at least the one.


This makes about as much sense as offering everyone on the Detroit Lions a contract extension.


I did not of course mean that the same people would do better from being paid more.

My point was, if you were making the decision on what pay to offer for a multi-billion dollar operation where the position was so important that the individual likely would make a difference of a billion dollars per year or more (maybe much more) would you consider it in the best interest of your company to offer pay that would result in anyone much successful to not even consider it? (Unless they were corrupt or power-hungry and wanting the position for those purposes)

That would be penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Subtract out the quite high added costs of living in DC on top of maintaining one's home residence, and what's left of the $169K is not an attractive rate of pay to most educated and even reasonably successful professionals.


That is assuming that our elected reps are not independently wealthy.

I know that every single representative from Texas can more than afford to maintain two homes.

If not - then the Fed should build a dormitory for congressmen and pay for there time in Washington.

I don't think it is a requirement for elected officials to live in homes that cost more in rent than 75% of their constituency makes in a year.


The choice to have the pay at that level then leaves out the entire class of educated, reasonably successful professionals who are not independently actually wealthy.

Yes, every single representative can more than afford it personally, because the pay tends to rule out from running those that aren't at that degree of wealth. I don't think that's in the country's best interest.

The dormitory idea and otherwise covering reasonable costs of being in Washington that are indeed added costs not normally incurred suits me fine. I just think it's not the best thing to, as a result of the choice of what to offer in pay, limit the resulting sort of Congressmen to those individuals that can't otherwise do anything that would cause anyone to pay them a good professional salary, those that are already independently wealthy millionaires, or those that know the pay is less than they could earn from their professional skills but expect to more than make it up in bribes. That's just not good but presently is I think inherently caused by the pay and lack of provision for housing.


I wish I was in congress. I want to give myself raises.

These fucking assholes don't even have to SHOW UP to work. Not showing up for votes? No problem! Give yourself a raise!

It's simply mind blowing.


The theory in developing countries is that corruption cannot be controlled effectively until civil service pay rates are sufficiently high. Many politicians do favors for special interests with the expectation that they will get a much better paying lobbyist job from that group once they leave elected office. For those in secure positions which will last until death this issue won't matter so much directly, though taking care of family members typically does. While politicians of all backgrounds may be-- ok, are to varying degrees-- corrupt, if the wages are insufficient to cover expenses then it becomes a certainty that either the politicians will be extraordinarily wealthy to begin with, or else corrupt.

Look at the Blagojovich case for a more extreme example of money needs encouraging corruption. He was deeply in debt-- due to legal bills from prior corruption, ha-- and this seemed to play a significant role in his requests for a higher paying job for himself and/or his wife as well as for large contributions that could be applied to his legal defense bills. To be clear, Blagojovich was corrupt to the core before all of this, but his personal financial straits certainly seemed to influence his behavior on the senate seat matter.