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The current compensation system for Congresspeople is a JOKE.  What monetary incentive is there for a talented and educated official to run for office?  Once in office will there be some temptation to do something corrupt as a result of a lack of pay?  

For example, lets say a very talented and well educated  businessperson or attorney decides not to run because they feel the $173000 a year is simply not enough.  If you were making a million a year would you run for a position which makes $173000?

We get what we pay for and look at what we have now?  Congresspeople along with the President should get paid based on how well the country grows.  If the country does not grow, goes into a recession or there is a panic then maybe they shouldnt get paid at all.  On the other hand, if the country does very well as a whole then maybe they should get a bonus.

Singapore is a nation with a 1.1 % unemployment rate.  The economy is ON FIRE over there.  Both the Prime Minister and President make well north of $1 million.  In fact, many Americans have moved to Singapore to find jobs.  

http://www.tremeritus.com/...

If you want to get rid of incompetent leaders then you need to give some incentive for others to run or what you end up with is what you have now...

I know there will be plenty here who disagree with me saying they dont deserve a raise...just ask yourself how you are going to attract and retain top talent with the current system of compensation?  How are you going to stop corruption?  

Poll

Should there be a pay for performance or merit-type pay system for politicians?

42%14 votes
57%19 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Higher pay = less corruption. Hah! (5+ / 0-)

    Besides, 3/4 of Congress are millionaires.

    Republicans: if they only had a heart.

    by leu2500 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:00:24 PM PST

    •  yeah go to wall street where they are among (0+ / 0-)

      the highest paid in the world.

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:10:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Congress Members are Richer than... (5+ / 0-)

    You and me."

    ...With a median net worth of $878,500, Democratic lawmakers were actually worth more than nine times the typical American household in 2010... Not bad for the party that positions itself as the defender of the middle class.

    And 21 congressional Democrats have average assets of more than $10 million..

    Republicans... median net worth was $957,500, and 35 of them have assets totaling more than $10 million...

    Congress members' $174,000 salary blows away the median household income of $49,445 for 2010. And their net worth has been on the rise since 2004, unlike ordinary Americans, who have seen their wealth slip....

    ...the center doesn't even include a primary home when calculating net worth for politicians. But the Census, which calculates net worth for average Americans, includes all real estate assets...

    And as income inequality grows in America, the gap between lawmakers and their constituents widens as well....

    In fact, Freshmen in 112th Congress Exceedingly Wealthy Despite Struggling National Economy

    Sixty percent of Senate freshman and more than 40 percent of House freshmen are millionaires...

    Also:  Congressional Members' Personal Wealth Expands Despite Sour National Economy

    And while some members’ financial portfolios lost value, no need to bemoan most lawmakers’ financial lot: Nearly half of them -- 261 -- are millionaires, a slight increase from the previous year, the Center’s study finds. That compares to about 1 percent of Americans who lay claim to the same lofty fiscal status...
    •  imho we started to go to (0+ / 0-)

      shit when we formalized the professional politician class. let's not do anything else to encourage more of the pros.

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:12:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's time for a nice cup of tea. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paulitics, kurious, leu2500

    If you don't have a tea kettle, you can just use a pan. Put water in it and bring it to a boil.

    Next add a tea bag of your choice.

    Enjoy!

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:16:19 PM PST

  •  These arguments... (0+ / 0-)

    These arguments put forward in the comment section are actually good reasons to put in place a different system of compensation.

    The only people who run for office right now are those who have enough money to do so.  There are plenty of talented individuals out there who are not millionaires and billionaires who wont come forward because of the pay.  

    I sited Singapore as a good example.  Singapore is a well run country with a professional system of pay and compensation.

    •  These arguments justify bigger and bigger (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious, Randomfactor

      salaries for CEOs while the folks doing the work are struggling to make ends meet.

      This sounds like republican talking points to me.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:39:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Renee, cassandracarolina, kurious

        Singapore, which is the only country remaining with truly secret bank accounts, has an over-heated economy that will eventually crash. When that happens, everyone will be looking for "lessons" and one of those lessons will be, "Gee, maybe we shouldn't have given MPs bonuses for higher GDP growth."

        "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

        by cadejo4 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:52:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, please answer this: (6+ / 0-)

      If there's an incentive-based system, and you somehow determine the incentive say, for unemployment reaching a new low of 3% or some other measure, WHO gets the incentive? The representatives who voted FOR certain bills, while the people voting against the measures get nothing?

      Or does everyone, regardless of voting history (including abstaining) get the same incentive? How much lag time is allowed between "results" and "payouts"?

      I really don't see how such a system could be established. I certainly don't see WHY it should be established, given our many other priorities.  

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:03:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  High salaries don't preclude dishonest, corrupt... (6+ / 0-)

      or unethical practices.  For example:   Doctors Accused in Nationwide $432 Million Medicare Fraud.

      A former attorney pleads guilty to defrauding clients. etc, etc...

      ....Though executive compensation at banks like Bank of America for example, as well as other large banks is enormous... their institutions still have been charged with things like:Mortgage Fraud and Laundering Drug Money--for decades

      ...Martin Woods, director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit ...after executives ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia’s branch network...

      There are many, many more examples of people whose salaries were huge, but they still were found to be crooks and liars.  

      Serving in congress is "Public Service", and the emphasis should be on "Service" not salary.  If people are primarily motivated by monetary compensation, they should find employment in fields where the compensation is lucrative enough for them.  If their motivation is public service, then Congress's salary--a salary which puts them in the TOP 3-5% of wage earners in the country should be more than sufficient.  

      The Average annual income in United States is around 47,000...Statistics shows that 50 percent of population live on $46,000 or less a year....

          Top 0.12% of people in US earn $1,600,000/year or more
          Top 1.15% of people in US earn $250,000/year or more
          Top 3% of people in US earn $200,000/year or more
          Top 5% of people in US earn $166,000/year or more

          Top 10% of people in US earn $118,000/year or more
          Top 15% of people in US earn $100,000/year or more
          Top 20% of people in US earn $91,000/year or more
          Top 25% of people in US earn $80,000/year or more
          Top 35% of people in US earn $65,000/year or more...

      Other public servants make far less money than the US Congress, and behave in a far more ethical and competent manner.  

      Lastly--many of our Congress members want to drastically  cut spending.  I think their own salaries would be a great starting point.

    •  What is the basis for the argument ... (0+ / 0-)

      that the best-qualified people to run for office are those who already make $1M or more a year?  It would seem to me that the best-qualified to represent the middle class are those who are middle-class members already; who else can understand them and their needs?  A millionaire will only be concerned with becoming a multi-millionaire.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:10:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couple of things... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Renee, LaraJones, kurious, leu2500, tardis10

    1. Many Congresspersons earn their millions in lobbying, think tank, and other positions where they parlay their "insights" and connections. They can also earn a great deal through speaking appearance, book sales, and membership on corporate boards.

    2. Many make far more in investment income than salary, especially as they have been trading with access to information the average person will never have (attempts have been made to tighten up the rules on this).

    3. Tying compensation to the country's economy could cause representatives to vote in ways that maximize near-term benefits to boost their pay, putting their interests at odds with long-term growth. Determining the degree to which congressional action/inaction drives our growth (versus other global forces) would be very difficult.

    4. We deserve public servants who truly want to serve their constituents and their country. No amount of money can ensure that. With gerrymandered districts enabling some congresspersons to feel safely entrenched, perhaps term limits should be revisited.

    Interesting idea, though, I'll say that.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:19:32 PM PST

  •  you want a better congress? (10+ / 0-)

    rendition random people off the street.

    done.

    I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not.…We're better than this. We must do better. Cmdr Scott Kelley

    by wretchedhive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:25:04 PM PST

  •  About this: (6+ / 0-)
    If you were making a million a year would you run for a position which makes $173000?
    One in every six households in Singapore is worth well over a million dollars, yet they somehow manage to find MPs willing to work for $225,000. Increased compensation isn't the remedy for bad governance.

    "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

    by cadejo4 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:44:03 PM PST

  •  This part at the end... (5+ / 0-)
    I know there will be plenty here who disagree with me saying they dont deserve a raise...just ask yourself how you are going to attract and retain top talent with the current system of compensation?
    ...nicely encapsulates the problem with the salary idea presented here. My relevant points:

    1. If you're saying they do deserve a raise, then yes, I disagree with you.

    2. Financial greed doesn't automatically go hand in hand with top talent. This is an unsupported assumption. Many of the most talented, smart, gifted people are motivated not by greed, but by service or other types of fulfillment. Talent and a spirit of service quite often go together. Why do we want to set up a pay scale that guarantees not that we'll get top talent, but that we'll get the worst, greediest people, who may or may not in fact have talent?

    3. Assuming that offering a high salary will result in top talent is a huge leap not supported by reality. Offering a high salary will, sooner or later, result in mostly greedy people in those positions. Lots of money does not equal talented people. And great talent can co-exist with ghastly policies. Have we learned nothing about politics? It would seem so.

    4. There's no problem with paying a generous wage. Sure. But tying political pay to the country's performance will bring us politicians who vote precisely the way many corporate leaders do--for any and all short-term gain at any cost. It also holds politicians responsible for natural disasters and global conditions that significantly affect the U.S. economy, and over which they have no control.

    Yeesh. What would be fun is to see some really good economist out there make up a list of job salaries based on what the job is actually worth to society, in reality. (Go millionaire moms.)

    I'm amazed by people's courage and kindness in the face of everything and life.

    by LaraJones on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:01:28 PM PST

    •  Well stated, LaraJones (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious, LaraJones, tardis10

      and brings to mind yet another thought. We are not really trying to "attract and retain" Congressional reps. Ideally, they'd serve for a while, then return to their other profession. The idea of perpetual campaigns undercuts the possibility of working towards long-term solutions.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:32:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Flawed premise (0+ / 0-)
    For example, lets say a very talented and well educated  businessperson or attorney decides not to run because they feel the $173000 a year is simply not enough.  If you were making a million a year would you run for a position which makes $173000?
    Why do you assume that the skills required to be a successful lawyer or businessperson would automatically make one a good lawmaker? Having worked in a variety of roles up and down the corporate ladder in everything from 20-person businesses to Fortune 50 mega-corps, and having also worked closely with the government of one of the largest counties in the US, I can assure you that there is very little overlap in the success factors for running a business vs. running a government. One of them is much harder than the other (and it's probably not the one you think).

    Also, a key ingredient for being successful in any role is some sort of passion for the job.  I, for one, don't want a government made up of people chasing every last dollar. I want people who genuinely care about their public responsibility.  $173k is plenty of compensation to attract those people.

  •  I'm troubled by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shigeru

    your wording, to be honest.  When you talk about "attracting and retaining top talent" with "compensation"...that all sounds like business talk to me.

    Are you advocating we run the country like a business?  Because that's kind of what it sounds like.

    •  and we know how well that worked! eom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Dude 415

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:12:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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