At the same time that they demand freezes in Federal salaries, Republican members of Congress are presiding over an explosion in payroll for their own staff, reports AP:
Overall, congressional payroll expenses have climbed much faster than the civilian federal work force costs that lawmakers are now clamoring to freeze. Many of the most vocal federal critics have overseen growth that rivals or outstrips the executive branch's, according to data from Legistorm, a website that tracks congressional salaries. For example:
• Firebrand Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has for months pushed legislation to freeze what she calls "unconscionable" federal salaries. Meanwhile, her own payroll jumped 16 percent between 2007, when she came to Congress, and 2009.
• Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican set to chair the House subcommittee overseeing the federal work force, says Washington must "figure out how to do more with less." But the freshman lawmaker gave his own employees an average raise of about 9 percent this year.
• Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has long criticized federal pay, has overseen an average jump of 8 percent per year in his office employee costs between 2006, his first full year in the Senate, and 2009.
Not to be outdone, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had his payroll go up by 81 percent since taking office in 2001 -- an average increase of 8 percent per year.
Of course, in the grand scheme, all of this is a fiscal sideshow. Returning to Clinton era tax rates and ending our military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq would solve about 90 percent of our long-term fiscal issues. But don't expect to hear that from any self-described deficit hawk anytime soon.