For ninety-nine percent of the United States, a yearly salary of $174 thousand a year would be heralded a miracle. Not so in Washington, D.C.

Citing the fact that congressional pay hasn't been raised in seven years, Florida representative Alcee Hastings said that it's time that the members of our government receive a pay raise. Hastings is a Democrat, but it wouldn't matter if he was an Independent or a Republican--his idea is ridiculous.

Hastings's reasoning followed two simple and utterly flawed arguments.

First, he used the fact that Congress hasn't received a pay raise in seven years as a reason for receiving a pay hike. Not only should Congressmen not receive regular pay raises, but they need to take into account that the money they are earning is far more than most Americans will earn in two years. While it might make sense to set a nice paycheck for Congressmen so that the role attracts smart, driven people, there comes a point where these people have to be in it for more than the money.

Secondly, he said that Congressmen are "in sackcloth and ashes" and living in their offices because they can't afford anything else. I have yet to look on CSPAN and see any Congressman on television dressed in sackcloth and covered in ashes. They all wear nice suits and look well-fed. Hyperbole isn't going to help convince the American public that their Congressmen need more money to attend meetings in Washington and not get anything done. They may not be able to afford penthouse suites, but they're by no means starving.

Hastings's comments, however, point out the underlying motivations for many in Washington. They're not in it for the influence and opportunity to make decisions and have a hand in making America better. Apparently some are in the business of politics for the money. This shouldn't be a surprise but it also doesn't mean that American taxpayers need to increase already exorbitant salaries.

h/t: US World Report




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