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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  Salaries and Benefits of U.S. Congress Members - It's your money! « previous next »
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Author Topic: Salaries and Benefits of U.S. Congress Members - It's your money!  (Read 2505 times)
CheezeFlixz
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« on: September 14, 2007, 10:22:06 AM »

Ok it's your money if your American ... other are welcome to pitch in.

Since we've been talking about the Government here lately, I thought it would be interesting to see just what we Americans pay for and get ... seems we pay a lot and get very little.

To quote NTUF Policy Paper 131 from Peter Stepp's 2000 article
http://www.ntu.org/main/press.php?PressID=343
(Plenty on this page to get your fur up.)

"Today, Members of the United States Congress enjoy a vast web of perquisites that benefit them personally as well as professionally, including:

    * Comfortable salaries that are often determined through legislative sleight-of-hand. Contrary to the arguments of many Washington "insiders," the cost of living has rarely eroded the historical value of lawmakers' pay, which on a constant-dollar basis is hovering near the postwar high.
    * Pension benefits that are two to three times more generous than those offered in the private sector for similarly-salaried executives. Taxpayers directly cover at least 80 percent of this costly plan. Congressional pensions are also inflation-protected, a feature that fewer than 1 in 10 private plans offer.
    * Health and life insurance, approximately 3/4 and 1/3 of whose costs, respectively, are subsidized by taxpayers.
    * Wheeled perks, including limousines for senior Members, prized parking spaces on Capitol Hill, and choice spots at Washington's two major airports.
    * Travel to far-flung destinations as well as to home states and districts. Despite recent attempts to toughen gift and travel rules, "junkets" are still readily available prerogatives for many Members.
    * A wide range of smaller perks that have defied reform efforts, from cut-rate health clubs to fine furnishings.

But the very nature of public office itself demands a more comprehensive definition of a "perk" than that normally applied to corporate America. Members of Congress can also wield official powers that allow them to continue to enjoy the personal benefits outlined above, such as:

    * The franking privilege, which gives lawmakers millions in tax dollars to create a favorable public image. Experts across the political spectrum have labeled the frank as an unfair electioneering tool. In past election cycles, Congressional incumbents have spent as much on franking alone as challengers have spent on their entire campaigns.
    * An office staff that performs "constituent services" and doles out pork-barrel spending, providing more opportunities for "favors" that can be returned only at election time.
    * Exemptions and immunities from tax, pension, and other laws that burden private citizens -- all crafted by lawmakers themselves.

Congressional pay and perks directly add hundreds of millions of dollars to the yearly bill that Americans are forced to pay for the federal government -- a significant cost for taxpayers, even if pundits dismiss the amount as a "drop in the bucket." Yet, beyond the basic issue of dollars and cents, Congress's perks have other pernicious effects. They distort the budget process, by diminishing lawmakers' moral authority to say "no" to special interest spending requests and benefit boosts for other government officials. They distort the electoral process, by tilting the playing field against challengers. Most importantly, they undercut efforts for long-term economic and budget reform, by insulating Members from the real-world effects of their own policies.

American taxpayers and American government would be better served by benefits for Members of Congress that look more like incentives than perks. Enactment of proposals for a defined-contribution pension plan, a scaled-back franking privilege, a pay level tied to government efficiency, and a term-limit Constitutional amendment would help to restore balance to a system plagued by the trappings of office."


End quote ... so,

House and Senate members is $165,200 per year.
(Average four member family in US $67,019)     

Senate Leadership
Majority Leader - $183,500
Minority Leader - $183,500

House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $212,100
Majority Leader - $183,500
Minority Leader - $183,500

A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it. I am not aware of congress EVER voting this down. (Who would if you could give yourself raises?)

Congressional Health coverage ...
For Mitch (The b***h) McConnell (R-KY) who makes $183,500 as Minority Leader, he pays $146.72 a month for Family coverage.
I don't get off that cheap, I'd be thrilled if that was all I paid.

Congress is eligible for a pension after only serving 5 years. Most American workers must work 20 years or longer to become eligible.

So it's easy to see what they are so out of touch. Let's take Mitch the b***h, I'd like to see him live on Kentucky's median income for 4-person families of $54,992.00 which I think is really high for my area and pay the full rate for insurance. A long with ponying up the funds that are currently provided for free to him by the taxpayers.

Check here for your state's average income ...

Ok just to be fair there are a number of perks congress has repealed, like free haircuts, free car washes, free health club, free phone, free plants, free personalized calendars, and a few other minor things compared to the rest.

Carroll Hubbard (D-KY) convicted of multiple felonies related to misuse of that office. Was forced out and sent to jail but why in jail he drew $53,908.00 a year in congressional pensions.
Now the GOOD news is he lives in my town and he hired me to remodel his very expensive house, I gouged the *%#@ out of him and got some of that money back ... yes i paid taxes on it. And this ass is ran for State office, he barely lost and says he'll try again. He also has a law firm ... I guess crime does pay.

Carroll Hubbard aka Elmer Fudd Wiki bio


Ok I'm off my soap box for the moment ... I swear I'm going to print shirts and bumper stickers that say "Throw the BUMS out."
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nshumate
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2007, 10:54:17 AM »



House and Senate members is $165,200 per year.
(Average four member family in US $67,019)     



The average four-member family isn't maintaining two residences, one of them hopefully in a non-crime-riddled neighborhood in Washington D.C., where the composite cost of living is 201% of the national average. (Source)
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Nathan Shumate
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2007, 12:04:44 PM »



House and Senate members is $165,200 per year.
(Average four member family in US $67,019)     



The average four-member family isn't maintaining two residences, one of them hopefully in a non-crime-riddled neighborhood in Washington D.C., where the composite cost of living is 201% of the national average. (Source)


They get a $3000 a year housing allowance for that, and if they choose housing can be provided on nearby Military  bases and they still get $3000/yr. Now I've worked in DC and I know $3000 isn't going to cover a the cost of housing there, buy I only scratched the surface of what they get .... like lobbyist money.
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nshumate
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007, 12:21:06 PM »



House and Senate members is $165,200 per year.
(Average four member family in US $67,019)     



The average four-member family isn't maintaining two residences, one of them hopefully in a non-crime-riddled neighborhood in Washington D.C., where the composite cost of living is 201% of the national average. (Source)


They get a $3000 a year housing allowance for that, and if they choose housing can be provided on nearby Military  bases and they still get $3000/yr. Now I've worked in DC and I know $3000 isn't going to cover a the cost of housing there, buy I only scratched the surface of what they get .... like lobbyist money.


So you're saying that the stuff you posted isn't actually anything bad, and it's what you DIDN'T post that makes you upset?
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Nathan Shumate
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2007, 12:40:26 PM »

[quote author=nshumate link=topic=115844.msg160741#msg160741 date=1189790466
So you're saying that the stuff you posted isn't actually anything bad, and it's what you DIDN'T post that makes you upset?
[/quote]

You have an interesting way of reading into things ..

No that's not what I said nor what I mean, congress is out of touch. You can not make $160K-$200K per year with the multitude of perks they get and even remotely relate to the masses of people you represent. If congress wasn't profitable then why have so many made it a career? Because they care about they country as they stand there running it into the ground? No, it's because they show up in DC rich and leave richer.

These people aren't hurting and you know it, why are you a congressional staffer?
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nshumate
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2007, 12:51:07 PM »


These people aren't hurting and you know it, why are you a congressional staffer?
[/quote]

Talk about reading in.  If I disagree with you, I must have a vested interested and can't be debating in good faith?

The members of Congress, you may note, are not an average cross-section of America, which is why their salary isn't commensurate with that of the average American.  They are usually successful professionals, and their congressional salary is, for most of them, no more than what they could make in the private sector. I don't see the problem with paying people what they're worth.
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Nathan Shumate
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2007, 02:31:05 PM »

I don't see the problem with paying people what they're worth.

Nor do I and with that said, I believe that congressmen/women should be paid the median income of the district they represent. And if they want a raise then they must work to improve the income of their constitutes. Furnish them modest housing in DC while there, approved by their district. Point is the people need to take back the control of the government and as long as millionaires (and many of them are) run this country then the average citizen is never going to get an even break.
Congress thinks of it's self as an pseudo aristocracy above the "little" people. When you work for the public you give up certain rights and you should give up being paid what you are worth. The voters of the district they represent should decide what they are worth, not congress deciding what they think they're worth. I feel if you did that you'd see far more members paying attention to the home front than grand standing in the national spotlight.   
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nshumate
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2007, 03:06:12 PM »

I don't see the problem with paying people what they're worth.

Nor do I and with that said, I believe that congressmen/women should be paid the median income of the district they represent.   

The median income of the district they represent -- while, again, maintaining two houses, one of them in an area whose housing costs is TWICE the national average.  Brilliant.  Who, pray tell, do you expect to run for office?  Only the independently wealthy (those who would be far, far more sympathetic to the upper crust than the average wage-earner), or those for whom the median income would be a step up -- and those are not the people with the resource management skills that I want running the country, thank you very much.

Unless, of course, you're expecting private industry to step in to fill the gap with even LARGER monetary contributions to elected officials.
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Nathan Shumate
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2007, 03:15:14 PM »

I don't see the problem with paying people what they're worth.

Nor do I and with that said, I believe that congressmen/women should be paid the median income of the district they represent.   

The median income of the district they represent -- while, again, maintaining two houses, one of them in an area whose housing costs is TWICE the national average.  Brilliant.  Who, pray tell, do you expect to run for office?  Only the independently wealthy (those who would be far, far more sympathetic to the upper crust than the average wage-earner), or those for whom the median income would be a step up -- and those are not the people with the resource management skills that I want running the country, thank you very much.

Unless, of course, you're expecting private industry to step in to fill the gap with even LARGER monetary contributions to elected officials.

Reading is fundamental ...

I said ... "Furnish them modest housing in DC while there, approved by their district."

And as far as I can tell only the independently wealthy now.

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nshumate
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2007, 03:32:55 PM »

Pardon me for missing that point about modest housing.   But that only changes one form of compensation for another; I thought that "perks" were one of the items on the grievance list.

I still don't see that their salaries are that outside the range of what one would expect in the private sector for (in general) similarly accomplished people given a similar management task.  Compare that a congressman makes to what a Fortune 500 corporate exec makes, not to what a raw "median income" from the home district says without accounting for education and experience. 

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Nathan Shumate
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2007, 03:46:04 PM »

Pardon me for missing that point about modest housing.   But that only changes one form of compensation for another; I thought that "perks" were one of the items on the grievance list.

I still don't see that their salaries are that outside the range of what one would expect in the private sector for (in general) similarly accomplished people given a similar management task.  Compare that a congressman makes to what a Fortune 500 corporate exec makes, not to what a raw "median income" from the home district says without accounting for education and experience. 



Working for the public is not to be equated with working in the private sector IMHO. One is service, the other is duty, if one chooses that path and with duty come sacrifice. For members of the military it could be there life in addition to long periods of separation, for elected representatives it should not be a lavish lifestyle, which s what it is now.
It's akin to a lawyer that chooses to be a public defender verses private practice, that get paid very little as a PD, but I know many that are excellent lawyers but choose to be a PD over private practice to help those less fortunate. They have the same education and experience as a private practice lawyer and make a fraction of the money by choice. Same goes for Doctor that opt the work clinics, peace corps, missions or at the VA.

I have no problem for anyone in the private market making as much as you can, but when it's MY (and your) money you are trying to get rich on, then I take issue.

speaking of money it back to work for me ...
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nshumate
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2007, 04:02:56 PM »

Pardon me for missing that point about modest housing.   But that only changes one form of compensation for another; I thought that "perks" were one of the items on the grievance list.

I still don't see that their salaries are that outside the range of what one would expect in the private sector for (in general) similarly accomplished people given a similar management task.  Compare that a congressman makes to what a Fortune 500 corporate exec makes, not to what a raw "median income" from the home district says without accounting for education and experience. 



Working for the public is not to be equated with working in the private sector IMHO. One is service, the other is duty, if one chooses that path and with duty come sacrifice. For members of the military it could be there life in addition to long periods of separation, for elected representatives it should not be a lavish lifestyle, which s what it is now.
It's akin to a lawyer that chooses to be a public defender verses private practice, that get paid very little as a PD, but I know many that are excellent lawyers but choose to be a PD over private practice to help those less fortunate. They have the same education and experience as a private practice lawyer and make a fraction of the money by choice. Same goes for Doctor that opt the work clinics, peace corps, missions or at the VA.

I have no problem for anyone in the private market making as much as you can, but when it's MY (and your) money you are trying to get rich on, then I take issue.

speaking of money it back to work for me ...

If you think $165,000/year in D.C. is "getting rich," I feel we may have reached an impasse in the discussion, or at least incompatible frames of reference.
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Nathan Shumate
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2007, 05:53:30 PM »

[quote author=nshumate link=topic=115844.msg160787#msg160787 date=1189803776
If you think $165,000/year in D.C. is "getting rich," I feel we may have reached an impasse in the discussion, or at least incompatible frames of reference.
[/quote]

I know $165K is not rich is DC, (I lived in Arlington 2 years) but these guys don't pay for much. Like I said if it wasn't profitable for them they wouldn't do it.
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