The new year will give us a new President and a newly elected Congress. Only 61 individuals are newly elected to it though. The remaining 474 are simply returning to continue their work (two are going from the house to the Senate). But in this session, all of them are expected to bring about that muct "touted change" that many of them promised along with President-Elect Obama.
How much "change" they will actually bring and what kind of change they will be responsible for has yet to be seen but early on, there exists one change that they will effect right away.
While the nation and the world have entered economic trouble, the 535 collective members of the House of Representatives and Senate will have the opportunity to see their salaries change with an increase of as much as $4,700 a year.
The pay raise is automatic and turns out to be about a 2.8% increase and although it may not sound like much, when one considers the circumstances of the times that we are in, accepting such a pay raise would be criminal.
I say criminal because there do not exist many American institutions that can determine their own salary at their own whim. And there are even fewer institutions that would dare to give themselves more money when they have less money to spend.
On top of that, given the fact that elected federal office holders already make a touch more than $169,000, most Americans feel that that is quite suitable. In fact many Americans might consider it to be a great deal more than suitable. Seeing as how Congress currently has an approval rating of 18.4% and a disapproval rating of 73.4%, I would say that most Americans think that $170,000 for the bad job they are doing is totally inappropriate and way too much.
So why should they get almost $5,000 more for their poor approval?
Even more disturbing, how can they look voters in the eye and claim to understand that the economic climate is rough but that it is necessary for them to shoulder additional costs that Congress had a hand in creating in the first place.
While Congress approves bailing out almost every faction of the private sector that requests help, how can they also accept more money too? Is that the type of change that the elections of ’08 meant, more spending and higher Congressional salaries?
The amount of money we are talking about in regards to the pending pay raise may be minuscule when compared to a 7 or 800 billion dollar bailout but it is still more money being spent. It is still more money being paid by taxpayers and it is still more money than each member of Congress requires. But more than that , accepting a pay raise during the time we are in is a horrific symbolic gesture that essentially tells the American taxpayer “screw you, were in charge and we are going to do what we want, when we want and how we want”. Never mind the out of work salesman who has no conglomerate that can slip congressman or senators a hefty campaign donation and then request federal assistance for themself. Never mind the additional taxes that Democrats will be requesting taxpayers to pay or the out of work taxpayer who can’t afford to pay their property taxes this year. By accepting a pay raise, Congress will be making it clear that they have absolutely no concern for the people whose money they spend.
With Democrats in total control of government, if the 2.8% pay raise goes through, than their hold on power will be short lived. If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi do not put a stop to increasing their salaries than folks, they are not just greedy, they are downright stupid and should not be in office in the first place.
Having control of government makes Democrats responsible for what happens in government, totally responsible. Accepting a pay raise at a time like this is something that they will have to be held accountable for and they will.
But there is still a chance for them to savwe face. If they act responsibly and derail any efforts to increase their salaries, they can spare themselves the blame and avoid the resulting repercussions of their greed and irresponsibility.
That is one reason why President-Elect Obama should publicly urge the House of Representatives and the Senate to show the American people that they have their priorities in order and that they are aware of the tough times we may be in and demand that they forgo any raise.
It is also why POLITICS 24/7 has issued a national petition.
It is a “Declaration of Rejection of a Congressional Pay Raise ”
As a free society, we cannot simply wait for our representatives to act. We must make our desires known before they act.
In the case of irresponsible government action we cannot wait for irresponsibility to be enacted, we must avoid it from happening . So we have initiated a petition to Congress. It is a petition that calls upon them to reject any increases in their “salaries, staffs and office budgets, as well as personal expense limits, and currently allocated per diem expenses. If such a vote or votes come before Congress at any point between January 2009 and January 2011, we demand that they reject it and that a new vote repealing such increases be brought to the floor of both the House of Representatives and the Senate”.
Simply click here for the "DECLARATION of REJECTION of CONGRESSIONAL PAY RAISE" Online petition and make it clear that will tolerate spending more on Congress than they are worth and that you certainly do not intend to tolerate their greed.
After signing it you must still do two things. Pass this petition on to others. Just cut and past the following link into an email
Then send it to friends, family and business associates and urge them to do the same.
Once you've done that, the second thing you must do is contact the two U.S. Senators representing you in your state and your congressman. Do so either by phone, snail mail or email. No matter how you want to do it, just do it!
If you are really ticked off over this potential pay raise, write your local newspapers too. Send letters to the editors voicing your disapproval of any hint of raising congressional salaries at a time like this.
BE SURE TO SIGN THE PETITION
9 SYMPTOMS OF CONSERVAPHOBIA
conservaphobia: noun. The fear of the American conservative political movement, often based on unfounded stereotypes and distortions.
You might be conservaphobic if:
- You've never really listened to Rush Limbaugh because you're already sure that you disagree with practically everything he's ever said.
- You refer to liberal Catholics, Protestants and Jews as "people of faith" but conservative Catholics, Protestants and Jews as the "religious right" or "radical religious right". (Maybe you have a thing for alliteration too.)
- You think all white Republicans are racists and all black Republicans are sellouts.
- You are a champion of first amendment rights except in public school classrooms and in front of abortion clinics.
- You're glad you're not a Republican because after all, they want to starve school children and senior citizens.
- You actually think that "liberal" and "progressive" are synonymous.
- In your opinion, a government donation to the poor is somehow more effective than yours would be.
- You only listen to and respect the views of "open-minded" people who think like you do.
- You blame society's problems on "religious fanatics" and "corporate greed", never on the irresponsible behavior of individuals.