Last night, as part of the budget cut package, members of Congress voted themselves a $3,100 pay raise. This will raise their annual salary to over $165,000 per year.
Now, I think the overall pay of a Congressman is fair for the job they are expected to do (although, as I blogged on September 30, one of the most disturbing trends that has developed during the Bush administration is that they are no longer writing legislation, with pre-packaged bills put together by corporate lobbyists now being simply delivered to Capitol Hill and voted on as written.)
However, to include a pay raise for themselves in a package in which they are cutting farm subsidies, student loans (at a time when tuition at universities has shot up by as much as twenty-five percent over the past four years to compensate for other federal and state budget cuts) and other social programs shows how out of touch they are. Obviously, members of Congress rarely have to choose between whether to feed their children dinner or prevent the heat from being turned off, but they have no problem giving this dilemma to others while voting themselves a raise.
And for that matter, the Republican leadership in Congress was willing to make cuts in health care (in the bill that was defeated yesterday), while enjoying the finest healthcare in the world for themselves and their families-- all paid for by the Government. And if Social Security goes bankrupt, well that won't affect them, since they have a separate (and much better) retirement system-- funded by Social Security tax dollars.
For opponents of socialism, they don't seem to have a problem with a miniature socialist system set up for themselves. Of course, opponents of socialism always say that it induces laziness and low quality of work. Well, if you followed the link above to my September 30 post, there is also that-- they get a guaranteed paycheck, universal healthcare, and a very cushy, guaranteed retirement, all for not doing their jobs.