I really do respect these people. And, when they read this BLOG entry, I know they won’t be offended when they read it. But, the more I learn about the average Congressman or Senator, I realize that as they “mature” in their positions, it appears to be more about staying in office than serving their constituents.
Congressmen and Senators enjoy many of the same medical, dental, vision and retirement benefits as that of the President of the United States. /1 Their constituents don’t. It is interesting that members of the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary System, consisting of the House of Commons and House of Lords (or, the Upper House) rely upon the country’s primary benefits program and typically support themselves. This obviously reduces bias and the potential for corporate influence.
This is a VERY LARGE topic. And, I will be working on a significant series around this issue.
But, one solution I am proposing is for members of the House and Senate be required to utilize the same benefits currently available to their constituents. I also think it might be appropriate for Congressmen and Senators to be paid based on the medium income of their respective constituents./2 It occurs to me that if they want to raise the standards for their constituents, having skin in the game (perhaps literally) themselves would be an incentive.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
1/ Members of Congress enjoy such facilities as a gym, barbers, and dining areas.
2/ As of 2006 rank and file Congressmen received a yearly salary of $165,200.
Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching for FERS. As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants’ contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes. The amount of a Congress person’s pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary. Average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.