Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is proposing a 5 percent pay cut for members of Congress.
“In the face of our ever-deepening federal debt, the federal government must follow their example by finding common-sense solutions to do more with less,” she told The Hill.
A noble sentiment. And one that would save $8700 per member. With 535 members of the House and Senate, the total savings are $4.65 million.
The federal government is on track to spend about $3.8 trillion this year. Trimming $4.65 million means that for every $816,502 the federal government spends, it would save one dollar.
Rep. Kirkpatrick is proposing a 0.00122 percent spending cut. That’s not even a rounding error.
I do not intend to mock Rep. Kirkpatrick. Her spending cut is better than nothing, and I am glad she is proposing it. But placed in proper context, it is very, very small. It is a largely symbolic proposal, and should be treated as such. A 5 percent pay cut for Congress is no austerity measure.
More fundamental solutions would involve fundamental entitlement reform paired with a deregulatory stimulus. Cato’s Chris Edwards has some other spending cut ideas that deserve a serious look. They total $380 billion, or ten percent of federal spending.