Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time for a reality check!

The current salary for a member of Congress is $174,000 per year. The President of the United States earns (and I use that term loosely) $400,000 per year, plus a $50,000 annual expense account. In contrast a member of the United States military earns between $17,604 and $60,348. (Well, enlisted, that is. A four-star general's pay is equivalent to that of a member of Congress.)

A family of four making $22,350 is on the federal poverty line.

Tomorrow the federal government is scheduled for a shut down. That doesn't mean the military gets to go home. On the contrary. They'll stay where they are. Go to work, fight terrorism, keep our country safe. Firefighters will continue to risk their lives. Police officers will continue to fight crime. They will do it all without a paycheck until Congress can pull their collective heads out of their collective... Well, you get the idea.

The most offensive part of this is who will continue to get paid. Congress. The President. They will continue to receive their paychecks. The people who put their lives on the line. No.

Just thinking about this makes me angry. Beyond angry. I know what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. My family has a long line of civil service, of putting lives on the line for the greater good of society.

Perhaps we need to re-think the pay Congress receives. In 1789, members of Congress received $6 per day per diem. Adjusting for inflation, that comes to about $151 a day. Last year (2010), the Senate was in session for 158 days. That comes to $23,858 per year. Even if we paid members of Congress for EVERY day of the year, it would be just over $55,000.

Think of the savings! How many members of Congress would be willing to take a pay cut of more than $100,000 per year? My guess is none... Instead, they will continue to look for ways to "balance the budget" without touching whatever effects them. Or the lobbyists who provide the "extras" they receive.

For whatever reason, Congress can't see the importance of those essential personnel who keep chaos at bay. I wonder how many people will be injured—or worse—because the lawmakers are so far removed from reality...


  1. Ugh I know it drives me crazy hearing about this! My father is a firefighter and my boyfriend is a Marine and both have had cuts to their pay. Actually Keith hasn't been paid in two months. My friend posted something similar on facebook today and a few people decided to shoot their mouths about how Obama is doing a great job and how the military is actually getting a raise and all this bull. I was pretty upset. I do wonder though how many Congress members would actually want to cut their salary. Aren't there some veterans? I read that some of Congress actually disagree with Obama's plan. I think the issue is getting a majority to vote on cuts to their salary. And yeah they really need to get their heads out of their behinds.

  2. So well put. This whole situation makes me so angry and frustrated. I wish there was something we could do to change how flawed our government is and rid Washington of it's corruption.

  3. Many of mine and my husbands friends are still active Marines and are currently deployed. It makes me sick to think that they are being asked to put their lives on the line while they get nothing in return. In the mean time, Congress and many of the high and mighty are acting like 2 year olds and refuse to come to a compromise about how they can cut spending that will effect everyone but them! I can only be greatful that my husband EAS'd this past February. I wish there was something more that citizens could do.

  4. I'm glad the shutdown didn't happen (not yet anyway). But just those numbers are enough to make you sick.