By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)
Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone
Kathy Kristof writing on CBSMoneyWatch reports Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) wants a bill she has introduced passed post-haste. Ms. Kirkpatrick’s efforts are to be applauded, but not with a standing ovation or thunderous claps. My reason for lukewarm acknowledgment is the paltry reduction she has asked for in her proposed legislation:
Last March, U.S. Rep. Kirkpatrick sponsored legislation to cut congressional salaries a modest 5%, saying it was high time that Congress shared the pain with the rest of America. As U.S. workers have suffered layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs over the past two years, Congress has actually been spending more money than ever. In fact, if it hadn’t been for another bill that Kirkpatrick supported, Kirkpatrick and her colleagues in the U.S. legislature would have gotten automatic pay raises this year, as they did in 2008 and 2009.
As Ms. Kristof’s article relates, and common sense should tell, pay cuts for congress are a popular item, and something ordinary citizens can certainly accept. Most American citizens should know that the perks and money flowing to congressional members does not stop with their salaries. There are a whole range of benefits and special treatment granted to make the lives of our legislators comfortable and almost monarchical:
It’s worth mentioning that cutting Congressional pay would still be generous. In addition to their $174,000 annual salaries ($193,400 for House and Senate leadership), all members of Congress have discretionary office accounts worth roughly $1.5 million and travel at the public’s expense. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Congressional perks, though scaled back bit over the past decade, are still rich enough to make you drool.
Although Ms. Kristof makes special mention that it is congress itself that holds off passing any suggested cuts, the American public can understand what prevents cuts of this nature. And, they should be able to do so without having the obvious passed on to them. I dare say Americans have been far too complacent and have acquiesced to the imperial antics of their congressional members and their bloated staff and budgets.
The article by Ms. Kristof concludes that congress will not cut their pay and other perks and the effort will probably die of neglect. Death by force of habit would be more likely.
Click here to access the complete article and some included links.
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