Do you have one of those really good jobs in which your pay is automatically raised every single year by nearly $4,000 – and the only way your pay hike can be withheld is if you choose not to accept it?
You don't find these jobs in the "help wanted" ads, friends. You find them in congress.
Once again, our congress critters have generously bestowed a pay hike on themselves, raising their total annual take to $168,500 apiece. These are the same people who have refused to raise America's poverty-level minimum wage for ten years and who have shown no concern for the majority of American working families whose wages have not even kept up with the rising cost of living.
This month, house members voted for the eighth year in a row to up their own pay. In a little game of political dodgeball, congressional leaders of both parties run an insider scam that makes their pay raise automatic – unless they magnanimously vote to block it. Guess what? They don't. For eight straight years, these statesmen have grabbed the money and run.
Speaking of running, both party's leaders have cut a secret save-the-incumbents pact, agreeing their candidates will not use the pay raise as an issue in the fall elections. And you thought there was no bipartisanship left on Capitol Hill.
Members try to dismiss the pay hikes as a trivial sum, merely enough to keep them ahead of inflation. Over the eight years of steady raises, however, these cost-of-living "adjustments," as congress likes to call them, have added a total of $32,000 to their paychecks. That's more than the annual income of most Americans – and it further isolates our congress critters from the harsh economic reality being faced today by the great majority of people they supposedly represent.
This is Jim Hightower saying... Shouldn't at least one party be campaigning to bring congress down to earth – starting with ending their soft cushion of automatic pay raises?
Sources: "House members accept pay raise," Austin American-Statesman, June 14, 2006. http://www.thecapitol.net/FAQ/payand...s.htm
Mike Conway (R-TX 11) stated in The Dallas Morning News that he did not oppose the pay raise because "Members of Congress should be able to make a living wage." $168,500 per year is what constitutes a living wage? Wow. Strangely enough, this guy also opposed raising the minimum wage above $5.15 per hour. Or about $10,712 per year. The proposed new minimum wage was $7.25 per hour or about $15,080. Still not a living wage. But then again, if Congress thinks that $168,500 is a living wage then you can see why they would be hesitant. And know that they do not live in the same world as the rest of us.