Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pay Raise for Congress: Have They Read the Papers This Year?

It's nice to have a comfortable COLA1 applied each year, regular as clockwork. It's even nicer, when you can decide what the COLA is.

Particularly these days, with financial institutions tanking, the American automotive industry looking forward to some, ah, adjustment, and the very real possibility that tens of thousands more Americans will lose their jobs. In the dead of winter.

Rejoice! Congress Won't Starve

Americans might be reassured to know that Ted Kennedy and other members of Congress aren't destitute, and will probably be able to make ends meet next year - in their household budgets, at least.

I'm not so much reassured, as annoyed, that our elected leaders have gotten another 2.8% pay raise. Quietly, with no muss and no fuss.

In their income bracket, that's a raise of about $4,700 a year more than each of them is paid now, or a little over $390 more a month. Next year, a member of Congress will pull down a tidy little $174,000 a year.

I don't begrudge America's legislators a six-figure income. Particularly when an auto company's CEO took $2,000,000 for his 2007 salary, plus about ten times that in bonus, options, and other booty.

On the other hand, it's annoying when America's leaders have a quiet little process that lets them give themselves regular pay raises without having to talk about it.

It's Not the Money

I think that America can afford to cough up $2,500,000 next year, to pay Congress. It's a trivial amount of money, seen against the Federal budget, or the $13 trillion-plus American gross domestic product.

What bothers me is the impression Congress is giving: that they just don't get it.

Getting a pay raise when so many Americans are losing their jobs simply isn't setting a good example. And, it makes it easy to wonder if Congress understands that the economy is in trouble and that America is at war.

There's a War on, Congress!

If "there's a war on" sounds familiar, it's because I've used it quite a few times. I am concerned that Americans in critical jobs just don't get it: Religious fanatics want very badly to kill Americans. They've already hit New York City and Washington, D.C.. There's every reason to believe that they'll try again.

I'm not going to rail against sloppy security and lax attitudes again: Check out the "Related posts" if you want to read what I think.

But, it would be nice if Congress behaved as if its members read the papers once in a while, and had a general idea of what was going on in America and the world.

Related posts: In the news:
1 COLA - Cost Of Living Adjustment, in this case.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.