If the escalating foolishness in Washington didn't already make you furious, this week's Congressional pay raise should get you to the boiling point. Effective this week, Members of Congress—that includes members of the House of Representatives and Senators—will be making a $174,000, that's $4,700 more than last year and the 10th time in a decade that Congress has given itself a boost in pay. As Boston.com's Jeff Jacoby reports today:
As has become routine, this salary hike is taking place automatically - there were no hearings, no vote, no debate. No members of Congress stepped before the microphones to explain why their performance over the past year entitles them to a fatter paycheck. Or to make the case for helping themselves to more money at a time when so many Americans are out of work, the economy is in recession, and financial distress is spreading. Or to shed light on the curious fact that people who are chronically late when it comes to passing appropriations bills or confirming judges never seem to miss a beat when it comes to pocketing more money for themselves.Jacoby makes a good point. Congress's approval rating is low, matching its abysmally low job performance. Washington has become hopelessly corrupt, with politicians on Capitol Hill and throughout the various federal agencies going from government to business and back again, a the while using this "revolving door" of electoral politics to line their pockets along the way. Were Congress to do something useful right now, rather than throwing trillions of dollars at a problem that was caused by reckless spending in the first place, I'd be supportive of a raise. But, we're only seeing the same ol' thing from the men and women who hold the reigns of power in Washington, and that's not deserving of any sort of bonus. Unknown to me until I read Mr. Jacoby's piece, it seems that history has a lesson to teach our elected officials. During the Great Depression Congress actually cut its pay by 10% in 1932 and again by 5.5% in 1933. Why not go farther? Seems to me that this Congress should work for $0 until we have a balanced budget and economy that's not being made worse by Washington. That's a pay cut I can believe in.