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August 16, 2013

Our Impoverished Congress

Congressional leaders haven't had a raise? God forbid.
WASHINGTON - Haven't had a raise in a while? Well, neither has your member of Congress.

This month, congressional salaries slid to their lowest inflation-adjusted levels since December 1990.

When congressional approval ratings are at historic lows, congressional pay - $174,000 for rank-and-file senators and House members - may seem high. But some argue that shrinking paychecks for public service perpetuates a political culture where mostly the rich can afford to serve in office.

Members of Congress have to maintain households in two locations, one being Washington, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country even for rentals.
Solution: subsidized Congressional public housing, the exact same kind of dumps they provide for poor Americans. Every third occupant must be a crack whore or a drug dealer. That's OK. No need to thank me.
While lawmakers' relative pay is declining, their wealth is increasing: Many in Congress have vast personal wealth. Since 1992, according to Stanford University and the Center for Responsive Politics, congressional net worth increased significantly. Average American household net worth during that time declined. Yet average net worth among freshman members first elected last November stands at more than a million dollars.
Solution: Charge every Congressman $174,000 a year for the privilege of serving their Country. They'd still be worth more than 95% of their constituencies.

Better yet, place Congressional salaries on a merit or performance based scale. We do good, you do good. We have to suck it up, so do you. Under the Constitution, Congress is responsible for administering the nations currency system, It abdicated this responsibility in 1913 when the Federal Reserve system was created. It's time to make them responsible again.

From the Harvard Journal of Public Law & Policy:
[...]The truth is that we have been drifting away from the Framers’ vision for a very long time. Even before the economic crash of 2008, we did not have anything resembling a truly free economy.
One of the most important sectors of the economy, the banking sector, was already quasi‐socialist or corporatist. The Federal Reserve, with its monopoly powers and its chairman and governors appointed by the President, has been an extraconstitutional branch of government since its creation in 1913.

The bailouts, and the government ownership that has come with them, are a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s policies. At the same time, this government body has been eroding Americans’ capacity for self‐government by forcing them to adjust their lives to an overall inflationary economy.

This is a vicious cycle: The central bank creates a series of booms and busts that makes business planning very difficult. As a result, more and more businesses fail and turn to government for bailouts. The public is told that capitalism is to blame and becomes accustomed to the idea that only government is capable of long-term planning. When the next bust hits, the cycle repeats.

Look at the following chart and see how well Congress and the Federal Reserve have been doing w/r/t the economy.


The chart shows the 1988 to 2010 change in the number of businesses that have one or more employees (employers) and the 1997 to 2010 change in the number of businesses who have no employees (nonemployers). While employers who create jobs have increased from about 4.75 million to maybe 5.6 million (an increase of 18%) , the number of nonemployers have increase by 64%, from 14 million to about 23 million.

Nice work Congress, you're fired.

Note: I'm  having trouble linking to the pdf that contains the above chart. It is from the US Small Business Administration's FAQ for September, 2012.

UPDATE:
Okay, it is here.

1 comment:

The Underground Pewster said...

"Solution: subsidized Congressional public housing, the exact same kind of dumps they provide for poor Americans. Every third occupant must be a crack whore or a drug dealer. That's OK. No need to thank me."

Great idea! Thanks!