October 23, 2003

Pay' Em What They're Worth

Honestly, all joking aside, I think our Congressmen and Congresswomen are grossly underpaid for the responsibilities thay have:

For the fifth straight year, members of Congress will see a jump in their paychecks in 2004, with election-year salaries rising from the current $154,700 to about $158,000.

Yes, they are extremely underpaid. Just because you may not like what some, (ok, all) of them do, and just because there are a few that really need to kicked out of office post haste, it doesn't mean that there shouldn't be significantly greater compensation for what the vast majority have to do and endure.

I believe this for two reasons. First, it is rank populism to try and argue that the members of Congress don't deserve compensation greater than what an awful lot of people make for substantially less effort and responsibility. I know this can be argued the other way as well, but I don't buy it, and anyway, I cannot fix all the world's inequities at once. The second reason is that the last thing we need to do is to limit officeholders to the very small list of the already wealthy:

As in past years, the effort to deny senators their pay raise was led by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who has a policy of returning to the Treasury any pay he receives that is above his salary when he began his six-year term.

Puhleeze. So, the implication here is that a member of Congress is displaying tendencies to act like Ken Lay by raising their salaries by a few thousand dollars? Frankly, I'm a lot more concerned about the pro-rated $4 billion dollars each member of Congress spends every year for "us," of which more than a few thousand dollars manages to find its way into their respective campaign chests and post-Congress retainers.

But I'm sure Russ's heart is pure. And he can't buy this kind of publicity for a few thousand dollars.

Posted by Charles Austin at October 23, 2003 08:02 PM