Letter to the editor: Congress deserves what?

Letter to the editor


On Tuesday, Josh Babcock asserted that our hard working members of Congress deserve an increase in pay, because they are “being financially duped,” in “Congress deserves an increase in pay.”

This assertion was backed by citing such laughable sources as the pay of professional athletes or members of Fortune 500 companies.

I won’t even begin to delve into the storm that is the disparity between a normal U.S. citizens pay and those who get “large salaries to throw balls around for a living.” I agree this pay is excessive. Where I take fault though, is that Congress deserves any kind of pay increase.

A pay increase for Congress is unwarranted and unneeded.

Congress may run the country, and make the hard decisions, but unlike sports teams or CEOs, they are answering a call to duty.

Their jobs are not controlled by the free markets, where prices are set and compensatory salaries reflect the demand for your job. 

Even without this free market influence, Congress makes more than three times the average wage in the U.S., which hovers around $52,000.

The unfair disparity in pay asserted by Babcock is not felt by Congress, but by those who congress serves. 

This disparity becomes more and more apparent when you take into account that the people, who Congress serves, do not get to dictate the pay that the Congress receives.

That’s right; Congress gets to vote for its own pay increases.  How is that fair? If Congress works for us, shouldn’t we be the ones determining how much they get? Payment should be based on merit, not by self-serving interests.

To add further insult to injury, every year members of Congress are required to publish their wealth and liabilities.

The Center for Responsive Politics has posted the median salary of Congress in the House and Senate. The latest statistic, for 2012, has the House at a median wealth of roughly $600,000 while the Senate is at a ridiculous level, with the median being over $2.5 million. I don’t know about Babcock, but this isn’t exactly wealth that makes me want to give them a pay increase. They seem to have enough to live lavishly.      

Instead of giving Congress the pay increase, perhaps we look at other public servants to give pay raises to. Our teachers are stupidly underpaid for the importance they serve.

Not surprisingly, Washington D.C., where these well paid law makers are, has the highest average teach salary in the nation. I wonder why.

Teachers toil long hours to teach the next generation without fair compensation. These are the ones who deserve the pay raise.

Or instead, maybe Congress should pat itself on the back and indulge in another pay increase. However, with a net worth of over half a million and an annual salary of $174,000 I would hope anyone could have a home in the state they represent, an apartment in D.C. and be able to commute between all while supporting their family.

If not, perhaps they should consider doing what most Americans have had to do recently, and tighten their belts and budget better.

Bryan Clark

Senior computer engineer major