Thursday, June 28, 2007

Congressional Pay

Congressman Dingell (D-MI) is proposing a pay hike of $4,400 for members of congress. Currently members get around $170,000. That sounds like a lot of money but when you consider that additional costs of living in two cities and one of those cities being Washington D.C. (where the median home price is $450,000 and higher in the surrounding suburbs) it's not that much. I know this one isn't going anywhere as it is lends itself to populist dismissals. However, I think it makes good sense. We get what we pay for and to some degree that is people who are are all to eager to substitute prestige and power and access for money. As the old saying goes, it's not just the cream that rises to the top.

Frankly staffers are paid abysmal salaries. If I wanted to go over to the hill to serve on one of the committees or work for a member I would be looking at a salary half my current salary, and I am not exactly a high roller. I think it would be great if a staff position was viewed as a great opportunity for mid-career professionals without too much financial sacrifice. Then I would be priced out from the other end and that would be good for the country.

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