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View Diary: Congressional Salary $175,000 Constituent Salary $17,500 (31 comments)

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  •  This is a bad, dumb idea. (6+ / 0-)

    I'd hate to limit Congressional service to people who can afford to do so for essentially no salary.  Your idea would only lead to a Congress even more dominated by wealthy interests.

    •  I couldn't agree more heartily with you (3+ / 0-)
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      Adam B, VClib, doc2

      Face it, it's a job. It's a job with significant overhead since many in Congress end up having to maintain two households, one of those households being in a market that's appreciably more expensive than what all but a handful are used to.

      There's nothing wrong with members of Congress being well-compensated. Let's face it, compared to what the CEOs of major firms make, $175k is chump change and while it may represent 10 times what some of their constituents make, that's a far cry from the 400x the average pay brought in by upper management and executives.

      It would be nice of course if they'd actually produce something, other than grief, for the money we pay them. Then again, the voters are the ones who hired 'em.

      •  Two households? OK. (0+ / 0-)

        Build a compound with 535 houses.  One for each senator and representative.  They can live there at no cost.  In return, WE vote on their pay raises.

        Fight 'em 'til hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice. -- David Van Os

        by Naturalized Texan on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 06:28:49 AM PST

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        •  Oh, sure. (1+ / 0-)
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          That's not any kind of security risk.  (Also: keeps them even further isolated from constituents and real life.)

          •  Yes, it keeps them more isolated. (0+ / 0-)

            They're so in touch and doing such a good job now, right?  I've been hearing the two households rationalization all my life.  What?  They didn't know that when they decided to run?

            Security risk.  I didn't say they have to live there, I said they can.

            I'll start worrying about their economic well being when they start worrying about ours.

            Fight 'em 'til hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice. -- David Van Os

            by Naturalized Texan on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 08:13:31 AM PST

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            •  So you DON'T want poor people running for Congress (0+ / 0-)

              That's my takeway. I'd rather pay 'em well and hold them accountable. It would be good if they actually had to depend on that salary rather than on the millions many of them have or that they get courtesy of lobbyists. It would take a Constitutional amendment to change the way they're paid but it would take only a statute to ban their slush funds.

              •  Sorry it took so long to answer (0+ / 0-)

                I was away.

                Yes, I want poor people running for congress, and middle class people and even rich people.  Right now it seems that only the rich, or extremely comfortable. can run.  I want public funding of elections.  I want congressVarmints to live on their pay.  No "speaking fees", no "gifts" and damn sure no "campaign contributions".  Frankly, I don't care if they're paid three billion a year.  I just don't want to hear them crying about how they need that much or how they care about "the people".  They don't and they don't.

                To be fair, there are some good ones, but too few.

                Maybe someday I'll express how I really feel about congress.

                Fight 'em 'til hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice. -- David Van Os

                by Naturalized Texan on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:38:47 PM PST

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          •  I'd prefer to have my representatives (0+ / 0-)

            live where they live now – in the city, elbow to elbow with neighbors and kvetching about the deer eating their flowers.

            Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

            by anastasia p on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:48:26 PM PDT

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    •  That's what they argue in Mexico.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...a country where the Chief Justice of the Mexican Supreme Court makes US$ 650k per year.  Chief Justice Roberts makes "only" US$ 220k per year.

      When challenged on pay, Mexican pols put forth the same argument you have laid out:  That to cut government salaries would be to put the wealthy in charge.

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

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 04:42:30 PM PST

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      •  It's possible to pay a generous salary (1+ / 0-)
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        without being exorbitant - it's not one extreme or the other, you know. What is it with all the false-dichotomy arguments I'm seeing (here and elsewhere) lately?

        "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

        by Australian2 on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 11:02:04 PM PST

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      •  That's because in Mexico they (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B

        are more concerned with monetary corruption than we are. By paying officials very well, they take away the incentive of bribes.

        •  Yet, ask anyone who has had to litigate in ... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Mexican courts if this is true.

          Example.  Within the last 18 months, Vitro, a glassmaker, actually invented debts so that the new "debtholders" could vote in favor of management's plan for restructuring.

          And a Mexican judge actually agreed with Vitro.  The judge ruled that there was nothing wrong with a Mexican company creating debt at the subsidiary level with the sole purpose of having that debt vote in favor of management's restructuring plan, in detriment of the non-company debtholders.

          Brazen corruption pervades the Mexican judicial system.

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

          by PatriciaVa on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 07:14:44 AM PST

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    •  I agree Adam (1+ / 0-)
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      I think the pay for members of Congress and the federal judiciary are too low. If the pay was higher we could attract more good candidates. Most members of Congress, and nearly every federal judge, could make more in the private sector.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 06:24:50 PM PST

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    •  The diarist is a little unclear on this point (0+ / 0-)

      He says this:

      Now i don't know about you, but i would rather see the Walmart and McDonald's workers making 175k and congress making 17.5k for the privilege of serving this great nation.
      and follows it up with this:
      My point isn't to limit Congressional pay. It is only to start a dialog. If they make ten times what most Americans make, what does that say about citizen poverty and hypocrisy.
      Unfortunate too that "most Americans" make more than $17.5K

      But still, makes you think...

      "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

      by shaggies2009 on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 08:19:48 PM PST

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    •  It's campaign funding that's the problem (0+ / 0-)
      •  Even with public financing, if members of (0+ / 0-)

        Congress were only paid $20,000 a year, the only people who would run for Congress would be people who were independently wealthy, people who can't make more in the private sector, and people with extremely strong ideological beliefs.

        Do we want doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, and social workers in Congress, or would we rather a Congress that consists of plutocrats, the uneducated or unemployable, and fanatics to an even greater degree than it does today.

    •  Totally agree, Adam, and I am sick & tired (1+ / 0-)
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      of smart progressives buying into these crappy, feel-good ideas that suck in real life (term limits is another). Nothing would hasten the complete corporate control of Congress faster than slashing their salaries. I would lose one of my Senator — the good one, Sherrod Brown — and my congresswoman, neither of whom is rich.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 07:47:11 PM PDT

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    •  Agree completely (0+ / 0-)

      Limiting congressional pay serves conservative interests, not progressive ones.  The other side would love congress to be open only to the independently wealthy.

      What we want is the best people in service to our side, and these are often people who could do quite well in the private sector.  Imagine what Elizabeth Warren or Barack Obama could have made if they had gone the Wall Street route, for example.  

      Political types are often willing to make financial sacrifices, but you can only carry that so far.  If they can't live a decent middle-class life, educate their children, etc. they are likely to choose other career paths.  This is NOT good for our causes.  

      I would say current congressional pay is pretty much on this borderline.  If it erodes in real terms, we will likely see the effect of fewer talented people on the progressive side.  

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