It was with shock and amusement that I read news reports about Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia), about to retire from Congress after a run of twenty-four years, making comments and supporting a bill to raise the salaries of Congress members.
My first reaction, like so many others I’ve communicated with, was ‘the audacity of this (expletive deleted)!’ My second reaction was, ‘how soon can we kick this guy out?’ My third reaction was more difficult: I had to get up off my keyboard and go look up the information.
I was vaguely aware that politicians are economically connected, and have the opportunity to achieve wealth through technically legal means. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ethically, but the law looks at the technical aspect. A little ways down the information page, there are two spreadsheets, one each for the Senate and House.
The data may go only to 2011, but it’s obvious the majority of members are wealthy – part of the one percent we’re all bitching about. The whole scheme of campaign raising has always been a problem for me. Especially when donations can come from places that have no connection to the places where the voters actually are.Those that have, win elections; those that have not are generally the election losers.
I think the idea I want to put forth is: why don’t the individual states take care of their elected officials? These folk are serving in a Federal capacity, sure; but they are representatives of the voters from their home state. Each state should pay for their officials’ salary, per Diem, housing, etc. Those values can be determined by each State’s legislators. Considering the amount of time these politicians spend on breaks to return to the home state, chipping in for a dormitory arraignment seems logical (not more than five in any one location, I think, from a security aspect).
But, back to wages. Aside from the very few at the bottom of the list, they all have a positive asset balance (in their own name). It doesn’t include money from relatives, closet agreements with someone to be ‘taken care of’ if they lose their elected status. I have yet to see an ex-Congressperson sitting on a heating vent with a cup in front of them. I do see revolving doors between public office and major corporations or lobbying concerns.
Agree or disagree. There’s a saying that ‘all politics is local’. Aside from the Fed having deeper pockets, what justification is there for claiming they have a Federal job requiring Federal funding? Bring the control back to the States. And please don’t quote how the Framers decided how the system should be run. That part of the law can be changed if the people will it. It’s not 1790. There’s more than enough money at the state level to take care of a couple remote operating politicians.