Congress: Work As Hard As We Do and We'll Talk About That Raise
If ever we wanted proof that politicians live in an alternative universe, we got it this week with news that members of Congress were about to award themselves a juicy $4,500 a year raise.
For squandering time and money in pointless political bickering and endless hearings?
For allowing our country to be overrun with illegal immigrants?
For bringing the felonious, disbarred John Dean to a Capitol Hill clown show on Monday, to conjure the ghost of Richard Nixon?
In the real world - otherwise known as the meritocracy - the only way to get a raise is to earn one. You do that by excelling at your job.
Members of Congress, with very few exceptions, are barely competent.
Many are so filled with rage for the other party that they can’t compromise or work together. They posture for the cameras, they dance in the hallways and they go on cable news.
They’re media darlings.
But the business of the people? It isn’t getting done.
Fortunately, the raise has been scrapped. For now. But it won’t be long before these whining Washington weasels decide they simply can’t squeak by on $174,000 a year.
Hey, you cannot go on MSNBC or FOX night after night in the same outfit. Clothes cost money!
Never mind that most American workers make far less than members of Congress and still manage to avoid nudity. In Virginia, for instance, the median household income is $71,535. The per capita income is $37,422.
Why should someone earning less than 40 grand see his or her taxes go to a public servant who makes four times as much and isn’t doing his or her job?
Congress members will tell you they haven’t gotten a raise since 2009. So what? They haven’t deserved one in decades.
When you hear freshmen, such as socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, griping about her pay and insisting that without a raise, members will be tempted to go after “dark money,” remind her that at 29 she hasn’t embarked on a career, but has entered “public service.” And threatening her bosses - us - with dubious financial dealings because she and her colleagues can’t make ends meet won’t make us want to give them more cash.
It’s an incentive to toss the greedy complainers out.
Remember, the work week for a member of Congress is not quite what it is for an ordinary decent American worker.
According to the website, Thoughtco.com, “The House of Representatives has averaged 138 ‘legislative days’ a year since 2001, according to records kept by the Library of Congress. That's about one day of work every three days, or fewer than three days a week.”
In 2013, The New York Times reported a similar finding: that the House worked about 18 hours a week.
If my abacus is correct, an annual salary of $174,000 comes to $3,346.16 a week, or $185 an hour for an 18-hour work week.
Not only do Washington politicians make an obscene salary for the hours worked, but they enjoy perks that many of the folks paying their salaries never get.
Pensions, for one thing.
Heavily subsidized health and life insurance for another.
More than $900K a year to pay staff members.
Oh, and free parking at Washington airports and delicious opportunities to jump on junkets.
Yes, I know. Legislative days are just part of the job of Congress. There’s also the brutally difficult task of cranking out propaganda to send to constituents using the franking privilege. There’s the “constituent services” they render to guarantee their re-election. Plus, there’s all that time spent back in their districts fundraising and campaigning.
Here’s an idea: Congress doesn’t get a pay hike until they work as hard as the rest of America.
That starts with a 40-hour week.