Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t get your representative in Congress a Christmas present. Because the congressmen gave themselves a big one-with your money. Yes, another pay raise. They’ll stroll into the new millenium pulling down a cool $140,000 minimum. Happy holidays.
More than 80 percent of Americans think congressional pay should be cut, not boosted. Yet the career politicians ignore the people and pad their own pockets anyway. This latest pay hike blatantly disregards the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits Congress from increasing their compensation without first facing the voters in a new election.
Back in 1989, a midnight pay raise was made possible by a signed agreement between the Republican and Democratic parties. They agreed to take the pay raise issue off the table in the campaign. Any candidate who failed to play along would lose the financial support of his party. A Democratic challenger who might have narrowly beaten Newt Gingrich in 1990 attacked Newt’s pay raise vote. He lost the election by less than a thousand votes when his own party cut off his funding.
The debate over congressional pay has helped draw a clear distinction between two very different kinds of congressmen. Those serving under self-imposed term limits nearly all oppose raising congressional pay. But the professional politicians keep scheming to enrich themselves with pay, perks and million-dollar pensions. They make up the self-gifting Congress. Ho, ho, ho.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.