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What does Congress do in a recession?

Why, give themselves a pay raise, of course!

A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.

Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.

"As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain," said Daniel O'Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan group. "This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter."

However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.

Still, Steve Ellis, vice president of the budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said Congress should have taken the rare step of freezing its pay, as lawmakers did in 2000.

"Look at the way the economy is and how most people aren't counting on a holiday bonus or a pay raise -- they're just happy to have gainful employment," said Ellis. "But you have the lawmakers who are set up and ready to get their next installment of a pay raise and go happily along their way."

... In the beginning days of 1789, Congress was paid only $6 a day, which would be about $75 daily by modern standards. But by 1965 members were receiving $30,000 a year, which is the modern equivalent of about $195,000.

Currently the average lawmaker makes $169,300 a year, with leadership making slightly more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) makes $217,400, while the minority and majority leaders in the House and Senate make $188,100.

Yeah, Congress is really working for the people, aren't they?

Hat Tip: Right Wing News


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Comments (16)

First thing any business do... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

First thing any business does (or should do) when it's got economic problems is freeze pay increases.

But then, they're not really businessmen, are they? Instead, they're basically 'elected royalty', and thus not subject to the economic realities we face.

And really, what's a couple more million amongst the trillions already handed out by these bozos? Just feed a few more sheets of paper into the printers at the mint, and it's all good!

Worst, greediest, and most ... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Worst, greediest, and most corrupt Congress ever!

Wasn't "Audacity" part of O... (Below threshold)
Paul_In_Houston:

Wasn't "Audacity" part of Obama's message.
They are only taking him up on that.

(Pelosi has to make-do on only $217,400.00/year?
Oh, the humanity!...)

-

Well, not that they're not ... (Below threshold)

Well, not that they're not worried about putting food on their families or whether to buy food or medicine I'm sure they'll be able to actually start doing their jobs and pull their approval rating up the double-digits.

So why again is it bad to r... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

So why again is it bad to rag on CEOs making eight figures but perfectly okay to rag on congressman making six figures?

In a sane world, we wouldn'... (Below threshold)
Tammy:

In a sane world, we wouldn't re-elect such people; but alas, what does that say about the citizenry of this country--that we just send them back up there. They need term limits and to be heavily audited.

Government has completely l... (Below threshold)

Government has completely lost its mind. A pay raise?

Quiz:Name 537 of t... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Quiz:

Name 537 of the most secure jobs for the next 2 years... (Hint:435+100+2).

My home state (Tex... (Below threshold)
Paul_In_Houston:

My home state (Texas) is sometimes ridiculed for only having a part-time legislature.

Apparently, the founding fathers of Texas couldn't fathom the need for grown men to be employed full-time doing nothing but making rules for the rest of us.

I often feel they were on the right rack, and sometimes regret they didn't follow the thought to its' logical conclusion.

-

Parthenon -The CEO... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Parthenon -

The CEOs, at least, are single, expensive drones in companies that nominally produce a product revenues to COVER that expense - and we can either buy the product or not as the need or the fancy strikes us. And I'm thinking the number of them making eight-figure salaries is in the pretty low double-digits in the first place.

Congress, however, is a symbiote verging on a parasite - they take more and more from our financial system and give back less and less of value. Are they somehow more valuable when times are bad than when times are good?

(And if the answer to the above is 'yes' - is it to their best interest in that case to make sure times STAY bad for the rest of us?)

Dang. "produce a product t... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Dang. "produce a product that sells for enough to provide revenues to COVER that expense"

why again is it bad to r... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

why again is it bad to rag on CEOs making eight figures

Nice strawman.

CEOs should be free to make as much as they want; as long as their business can support it and they don't come begging for handouts from the taxpayer during tough times.

If they do come asking for publically funded welfare from the welfare teat, then they most certainly can be criticized.

Congress is already on the public teat. It's outrageous that they get a raise during tough economic times.


If legislators didn't have ... (Below threshold)
epador:

If legislators didn't have the additional gravy of their war chests and benefits, I might have a little sympathy. Then again, maybe not.

Why certainly they deserve ... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Why certainly they deserve a raise.

Hard work achieving a 9% approval rating, dontcha know.

"So why again is it bad ... (Below threshold)

"So why again is it bad to rag on CEOs making eight figures but perfectly okay to rag on congressman making six figures?"

Less Nessman answered that pretty well, but I think you missed the hypocrisy in their actions there, Parthenon. The fact that congress is employed by us seems to escape them. Last time *I* got a raise it wasn't because I gave it to myself automatically. They didn't even want to sit and discuss their raises anymore, they just wrote a law that makes it automatic. They have to actively forfeit it.

So why again is it... (Below threshold)
So why again is it bad to rag on CEOs making eight figures but perfectly okay to rag on congressman making six figures?

CEO's don't have people with guns to force us to pay them. Congress does.
CEO's don't write their own salaries, they have to put it before a board of directors who can tell the CEO to pound sand. Congress does write its own salaries and makes it law to pay them.
CEO's only power is their ability to make money for the shareholders of the company, Congress has the power of the government and defying them can cost you your property, your liberty, or your life.

Have I been clear enough for you? Try using your head as something other than a door-knocker for a change.




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