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View Diary: Campaign to Cut Congressional Salaries Now (32 comments)

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  •  It is true that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, Andrew F Cockburn

    the pack of creeps we have running the House these days didn't accomplish much last term, but that doesn't mean they weren't working hard. The hours Congress is in session is not terribly related to the hours they actually work. They also have to maintain two residences, one in the DC area and one in their home district, and that is not cheap. Besides, the more we cut their salaries the more it means only people who are already well off will choose to run for office.

    •  So, Congressmen deserve 3.5x more than they... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      made in 1970, but not the average US worker?

      And it's not just Congressional salaries.  Glance at staff per elected official, today vs 1970.

      Didn't a Congressman have to maintain two residences in 1970?

      With respect to your final argument, it's precisely the one used by the Mexican political class to justify their salaries.

      The President of the Mexican Supreme Court earns more than US$ 650k per year, and argues that he deserves more, as do his colleagues.

      Why?  Otherwise, he argues, only the "well off" will opt to "serve" the people of Mexico.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 02:23:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  PatVa - every member of the current SCOTUS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew F Cockburn

        could earn 10 times what they make being on the Court. The level of pay in the federal judiciary is not at all competitive and should be dramatically increased.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 02:54:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But aren't they "Public Servants"? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LatidaSothere

          Geithner could have made 15x his 270k Treasury Chief pay in the private sector, but doesn't.

          Ditto with SCOTUS.

          I was under the impression that Americans decide to become elected officials to be public servants, to willingly earn significantly less than they would in the private sector, knowing that their's is a noble calling.

          If we stop believing that, if we start believing that John Roberts can't get by on his US$ 220k per year salary, then we are rapidly becoming the Mexico of the North, insofar as elected government is concerned.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 03:44:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  PatVa - for members of the Cabinet (2+ / 0-)

            it's a two to four year gig. Easy to give up current income for a resume enhancer of dramatic proportion. People don't leave the SCOTUS after a short stay to join a big DC appellate law firm and make $2+ million a year.  The same is true in the federal trial courts and courts of appeal. There are first year associates in major cities who make as much as a federal court district judge. That's not right.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 03:55:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No one forced them to goom themselves for.. (0+ / 0-)

              ..a shot at being named to SCOTUS.  And yes, they would be earning significantly more in the private sector.  But they would not have an opportunity to forge the judicial history of this country.

              One hundred years from today, will schoolchildren be reading about a partner who earned 3M at a a DC criminal defense firm, or Chief Justice John Roberts's arguments in the 5-4 decision which enabled ObamaCare?

              VClib, if we start justifying the dramatic divergence between the median worker and a public servant, in this case, the Chief Justice, then how can we lament the growing disparity b/w c-level execs and the median worker, having gone from about 20x in the early 70s, to 300x today?

              We can't have it both ways.

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

              by PatriciaVa on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 04:24:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I never said (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slothlax, Andrew F Cockburn

        the average US worker didn't deserve more. They do.

        But I don't think cutting Congressional salaries accomplishes anything other than to prevent people without outside incomes from wanting to get into that line of work. As for the staff, the US population has grown by more than 50% since 1970 while Congress has remained the same size, so staff are responding to many more constituents than congresspeople had in 1970 - that is just going to take more staff members.

        It's the kind of measure that makes cynical people feel good about the politicians they hate but it doesn't actually do anything to help solve any problems.

    •  pat - I agree (3+ / 0-)

      I think we should pay members of Congress more. It would draw more potential candidates into the mix. Many people we would like to see enter the political arena can't afford the pay cut.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 02:51:43 PM PST

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      •  $174,900 a pay cut? (0+ / 0-)

        That explains who you want to run this country.  Mo' of the same.  

        •  If you want different people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Andrew F Cockburn

          to come in to Congress, which I don't disagree with (on the Republican side that is), how do we get there? I don't see pay cuts as a way to get us there.

          The main problems are

          1) Redistricting / gerrymandering so that Congress members are not representative of the voting population as a whole.
          2) Huge money requirements to get in to a Congressional seat and stay in - either personal wealth and/or fundraising, including being indebted to corporate donors.
          3) Lobbying by more of the same corporate interests.

          I don't see how making congress members even more eager to cash in on a possible future job as a lobbyist, or more desperate for fundraising dollars from whatever donors they can scare up, is going to solve anything.

        •  LS - it's very difficult for middle class people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Andrew F Cockburn

          to run for public office, particularly Congress. If you are running against an incumbent, or even if it is an open seat, you have to spend the entire prior year campaigning and fundraising full time. If you are not already a politician who can be paid while campaigning, who can afford to not work for a year.? The reason that such a high percentage of members of Congress are millionaires (even Dems) is that they can afford to run for office without any current income. If you are middle class, or lower like my parents, every adult in the family is working one of more job just to pay for the necessities. Higher salaries for members of Congress would attract more candidates and I think that is a positive.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 03:40:27 PM PST

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          •  I'm sure you're right (0+ / 0-)

            about campaigning and it needs to be reformed.  No more American Idle format to choose our leaders. My diary is more about using a paycheck as leverage to get better performance just as any of us would be faced with if we failed to do our jobs.

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