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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Super Committee Super Salaries

It doesn't take a rocket scientist blogger to figure out this message. 

It's a "no brainer" where Congress should look first when debating deficit reduction.

After all, when Congress acts, somebody else, somewhere else, suffers the consequences or reaps the benefits. It's time they start cutting budgets from within.

Look at the math for those who have this high level of power over our future (some data is from Wikipedia):

There are 12 members of the Congressional Super Committee authorized under the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.  Six members of the Super Committee are appointed from the House of Representatives and six are from the Senate, making this a Joint Committee of both houses of Congress. 

Democrats Republicans
Senate members
House members

The annual salary of each senator, as of 2009, is $174,000;[27] the president pro tempore and party leaders receive $193,400.[28] In June 2003, at least 40 of the then-senators were millionaires.[29]
Along with earning salaries, senators receive retirement and health benefits that are identical to other federal employees, and are fully vested after five years of service.[28] Senators are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). As it is for federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants' contributions. Under FERS, senators contribute 1.3% of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2% of their salary in Social Security taxes. The amount of a senator's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of their salary. The starting amount of a senator's retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of their final salary. In 2006, the average annual pension for retired senators and representatives under CSRS was $60,972, while those who retired under FERS, or in combination with CSRS, was $35,952.[28]
"The current salary (2011) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. Members are free to turn down pay increase and some choose to do so."
Many in our US Congress are already multi-millionaires.

Twitter reported that US Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford (D-AZ) wants to introduce legislation to require the deficit reduction process include reductions in Congressional salaries. 

When the US Congress looks to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the US Military, and Pell Grant funding, among other programs, they should begin by demonstrating ethical leadership.

In the spirit of medical ethics referred to as the Hippocratic Oath - first do no harm.

Deficit cuts should begin with the US Congress and their super salaries, before doing harm to others.



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