MIllions without health care. Rampant foreclosures. Highest unemployment rate since the depression.
Now would be a good time for the Federal government to give itself a big fat raise?
In the surreal world of the US Federal Government, that is just what is happening,
(USA Today reports)
Congress members in 2008 will receive salaries of $169,300, an increase of $4,100 over the salary they have had since January 2006.
That 2.5% increase is similar in other Federal positions as well:
• Associate justices of the Supreme Court, their pay go from $203,000 to $208,100.
• Chief Justice John Roberts, pay will rise to $217,400 from $212,100.
• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,salary goes from $212,100 last year to $217,400, the same as Chief Justice Roberts.
• The majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and Senate president pro tempore Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., will get increases from $183,500 to $188,100.
• Dick Cheney, in his last year as vice president, will receive $221,100, up from $215,700.
• President Bush's salary of $400,000 is unchanged. Don' t worry about him though-- he was able to purchase An adjacent home at 10151 Daria Place is under contract, and neighbors believe that the Bushes plan to buy that property as well, though it's unclear how they would use that house or the land.
At more than 8,500 square feet and sitting on 1.1 acres, the home at 10141 Daria Place is by no means humble.
And according to documents filed with Dallas County, it wasn't cheap.
The house was purchased with a $3,074,000 loan issued by the Community National Bank in Midland – a note that must be paid in full by October 2012, according to documents signed by Mr. McCleskey.
The home has an estimated annual tax bill of about $44,000.
Not to worry, George & Laura can probably get by on the family oil revenues.
Last year was the first since 1999, when the pay was $136,700, that members of Congress did not receive a cost-of-living allowance raise along with other federal employees. Democrats, newly elected to the majority, had vowed to block an increase in their paychecks until Congress raised the minimum wage.
With the minimum wage increase accomplished last year, House Democratic leaders joined with their Republican counterparts to oppose a procedural vote to bring the COLA issue to the floor, leaving the way clear for their automatic raise.
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, a leading critic of the COLA process, said in an interview that he's not proposing that members of Congress never get a pay raise. But he said that, in a time of budget deficits when many people are undergoing economic hardships, "at least we ought to have an up-and-down vote on it. The whole process appears so secretive."
Tom Schantz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said Congress should be "mortified" to accept a raise when it allowed the deficit to swell and the economy to swing so badly out of control.
"If congressional leaders believe that the taxpayers should give pay raises to this rogues' gallery of ineptitude and venality, they ought to step away from the spiked eggnog," Schantz said, urging an emergency vote against the raise.
That is exactly what should happen- an emergency vote, stopping the raise.
Not only did lame congress allow $700 billion to be recklessly squandered to Wall Street financiers, but they seem to be oblivious to the overall financial ruin that they themselves had a major hand in creating. Repeated funding for the illegal occupation, and failure to regulate banks and Wall Street created this mess. We do need to find out what circumstances created this disaster, in order to not have it repeated, but moving forward, we can't proceed with business as usual. The notion of this glut of hefty pay raises is in one word, insane.
Ordinary citizens had to wait 10 YEARS for a small minimum wage hike, Congress & the Federal Government should at least do the same.
I for one, am mad as hell & don't think we should allow the pay raises.