With all the cuts going around in government, I am in no way shocked that Congress has received a pay raise. It is not a large raise; nevertheless it is still a raise. For the past 5 years they have enjoyed such great treatment from their loving countrymen. The only bad thing about it is, no American, other than themselves, have approved of such treatment. Their overall approval rating is down, yet from their evaluations they are entitled to higher compensation. With about half of our Congressional Members already at the Million-dollar mark, it is hard to see why they see the need to funnel more, taxpayers’ dollars, into their pockets.
Let’s review the numbers:
- Speaker of the House $223,500
- Majority Leaders $193,400
- Minority Leaders $193,400
- Other $174,000
Like I stated before the increase was very small. But when you look at the principle of raises during a recession and political meltdown, one thing is certain, they really don’t care what the rest of the country is going through. They honestly can’t relate to the rest of the country, who are fighting to survive or stay ahead. Not to mention the fact that all of their overall wealth continues to climb as our economy gets worst and more citizens are losing jobs.
- Congressional median: $911,510 (2009) – $785,515 (2008) 16%
According to the numbers they are benefiting from the state of the economy. The very bill that deregulated the financial industry put money directly into their pockets, Democrats’ and Republicans’ alike. Anything that has a double digit return is a great investment.
Enough about what we know they make, now let’s discuss what we don’t know, since the data we have on Congress’ wealth are always median. When they file their taxes, unlike the rest of the country, they put a range for their net worth. Meaning instead of a fixed numbers Senator D. Feinstein made from $46-$108.1 Million and Senator J. Rockefeller $61.4-136.2. Let’s go deeper into this idea with the 10 Wealthiest Members of Congress of 2009.
- Sen. D. Feinstein $46-$108.1 (235%)
- Sen. J. Rockefeller $61.4-136.2 (221%)
- Rep. M. McCaul 73.7-201.5 (273%)
- Rep. V. Buchanan -69.4-366.2 (366ish%)
- Sen. H. Kohl 89.4-231.2 (258%)
- Rep. J. Polis 36.7-285.1 (776%)
- Sen. M. Warner 65.7-283.1 (430%)
- Sen. J. Kerry 182.8-294.9 (161%)
- Rep. J. Harman 151.5-435.4 (287%)
- Rep. D. Issa 156.1-451.1 (288%)
Alarmingly they demand more accuracy from bombs and grenades. The 2 numbers represents the minimum net worth and maximum net worth. To think rep V. Buchanan sent in a loss as his minimum. This tells me that based on the numbers the average margin of era is over 300%. Mind you these numbers are based on what they filed on legal documents, not just something someone pulled together from different sources. It’s safe to say no one knows how much they make per year.
OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics) did a really good job at putting multiple years together. They also have reworked the formula used to come up with a more accurate number than the median. What we can say is the Congressional medium we used earlier is another low ball number to hide the truth.
Question if we don’t know how much they made in any given year than how do they pay taxes? This is really where the tricky part comes into play. They go off the median. Members like M. Bachmann even take it a step further by playing the high road. She gets subsides from her farm or defers her pay or defers her pension or defers her benefits and say she did not receive anything. Based on tax codes she is able to defer the money and collect it later where interest is added. That allows her to take more money from the tax payers she has sworn to protect from the leaches in Washington.
From where I sit Congress has NO ACCOUNTABILITY even in how much they are to pay in taxes. Yet we allow them to make laws and policies that have and will add to their wealth. While most Americans are debating on the best candidate for President, we need to be more mindful of who really has the power here, CONGRESS. Where is our Julius Caesar to free us from the Senate and Aristocracy?