Guest Submission

Pampered Public Servants; Hapless Household Incomes

Servant. According to Google this word defines “a person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a personal attendant.” Do you think you’d ever hire a servant and pay them a higher salary than you earn? Do you think anyone in their right mind would? No. Unheard of. Won’t happen. Yet America continues to pay its servants more than we make year after year after year. And the worst part? Our servants stink at doing what they were hired to do.

The annual base salary of US Congress members is $174,000. Do you know what the median household income in the U.S. is? $51,939. That’s a difference of over $122,000. And please take notice, that’s comparing household income to that of an individual congress member. These men and women are chosen by us to be our “public servants”. Why do we pay them more than we make when they fail to perform?

From 1992 to 2014, the median household income of the United States has raised a total of 5.6%, or $2,990. The salaries of our congress members have raised 25.6%, or $44,500. This, ladies and gentlemen, is appalling. If American household income improved a measly 5.6% in 22 years why are our congress men and women continuously getting pay raises? Would you continue to pay a servant who failed to perform?

Inaction is a disease in our congress. Party-lines control more decision making than does logic, integrity, and ethics. This inaction and party-line decision making causes the American populace to suffer while it ensures continuous employment in our political system for the offenders. One way to cure our congress would be to start fresh without parties – that’s not going to happen. Another method could be linking congressional salaries with the median household income of the United States.

Performance-based rewards such as bonuses, pay-raises, and stock options exist in every other profession. Why don’t we have this in the US Congress? We can if we bind their salaries to something like the median household income. With this system, if Americans’ earnings increase, congress’ earnings increase, if Americans’ earnings decrease, congress’ earnings decrease. Congress is now held to a standard and rewarded for good performance or punished for poor.

I understand there are some financial intricacies. I don’t believe congress should lose their annual allowances intended to defray expenses related to their congressional duties. I also think we owe it to our public servants to instate a housing stipend, to provide the necessary funds for them to maintain two households (D.C. and home-state).

But the fact that they make $122,000 more than the median household in America is disgraceful. And the fact that their pay has risen 25.6% in the last 22 years while the households of America have only seen a rise of 5.6% is inexcusable.

We must hold our “public servants” accountable and spur them to action. We must ensure they do what’s best for America and not for their party or their careers. I believe one way to do this is tying their salary to this statistic or another like it. How far do you think a bill proposing this would make it in our legislative system?


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