Obama gives raises to Congress as regular Americans tumble over the fiscal cliff

You and I get raises based on our performance, isn’t it about time congress did too? Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, DC, December 31, 2012 ― Eleven billion dollars: That is the total raise that Obama approved for federal employees, via executive order, with Joe Biden, congress, and judiciary employees being on top of the list.

Under a law passed in 2010, government salary rates were frozen for a two year period, although federal employees were still able to get raises upon promotion, performance reward, or as they advance within the steps of their pay grades.

Isn’t that pretty much how every regular American gets a pay raise? 

The lack of automatic pay raises on top of performance based raises was called “unconscionable” by J. David Cox Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union in the US.

Cox has also called on the administration to negotiate a freeze in health-care premiums for government employees that will otherwise increase on January 1, 2013.

The government employees impacted by the proposed freeze on health-care premiums include tens of thousands of people recently hired as administrators for the very health-care programs they want protection from paying for.

That leaves even me at a loss for words.

Does Sen. Feinstein, worth $70 million, really need a raise? Has our lame duck congress done anything to merit more money?

Does Rep. Michael McCaul, worth more than $294 million (worth only $12 million in 2005 when he took office), need a raise?

Here’s an idea: Pay congressmen (and women) the same amount as the median income of the district they represent.

It is obvious that without a vested interest in their constituents’ economic welfare, they will continue to care more about their never-ending campaigns than those they are being paid to represent.

There are a few voices of reason amidst the madness. The House of Representatives voted to extend the pay freeze by a year or more, but support fizzled out in the Democratic Senate. Rep. Paul Ryan has called out for the freeze continuing through 2015.

President Obama, you claim to want millionaires to pay a little more in taxes to help America. Perhaps you should start with not giving raises to the Congress with the lowest approval ratings in our history.

While you and I struggle to cope with less money coming home in the New Year, take some solace in the fact that it is going to a good cause.

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Mike Shortridge

Mike is a former Marine who served in the Middle East. He is disgusted with both the Republican and Democratic parties, seeing them as two heads of the same beast. He writes from the conservative perspective, with a focus on making complex subjects easy to understand.


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