Hypocrisy on the Hill — Congress Gives Itself a Pay Raise
Immediate Release. October 27, 2003 On October 23, 2003, for the fifth straight year Congress gave itself a wage increase of $3,400. The increase at taxpayers' expense will hike the salaries of the members of the House of Representatives and Senate 2.2 percent or an increase from $154,700 to $158,100 annually next year.
“Although elected to serve the people, there is no doubt Congressional members think more of themselves then they do of the welfare of this nation or the people that they supposedly represent,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public policy. “Today, 9 million Americans are out of work. Manufacturing employment has declined 15 percent in the past 33 months especially in the industrial and textile-producing states. More and more jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries. And, the deficit is estimated at more than $450 billion. How sad that Congress would even consider giving themselves a pay increase.”
There are many Americans that did deserve a wage increase but did not receive it this year because of the economic malaise the economy is currently undergoing. Unfortunately, they cannot determine their salary as Congress does.
During the last three years total federal government spending grew 17 percent or represents more than 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Compared to the one income family from decades ago the modern two-income family is economically no better off because of governmental spending and the increased size of government. At a minimum in over ten years, U.S. taxpayers could save $85-$100 billion if Congress would come to grips with wasteful spending in government programs. Finally, a child born in the U.S. today starts out $124,000 in debt which represents $100,000 of their share of unfunded Social Security, Medicare and veterans' health care benefits and $24, 000 which is the newborn's share of the accumulated $7 trillion federal debt. If Congress received merit pay with a record like this, they would have to reduce their salaries instead of increasing them.
It is time for our representatives in Congress to lead by example, as the Founding Fathers did and start to give more to this nation then they take. If America is to survive these times of tumult, Congress must start to serve in an elected political position to change America for the better. And if they do not, Americans across this nation should send them a clear and resounding message in the form of a “pink slip,” the next time they are up for election.
Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy
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