On Friday, March 1st, the United States faces what is being called Sequestration. Now, I do not know what the fine details are but what I do know is the US will face an automatic $85 billion in budget cuts. Officially called the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 it is aimed, as usual, at the most vulnerable people in the United States.
I fully understand that there is a tremendous amount of waste in the Federal Budget and there are programs that are broken and need to be fixed, but why is it that the people who make the decisions will not be hurt by this program at all? Why is that members of Congress and the Executive branch will not suffer one bit?
I have some suggestions of place that can be cut. These would be symbolic in the $85 million but you get the picture.
Each member of the House receives an Annual Salary of $168,000 x 435 = $73,080,000
(The Leadership receives more but for this exercise we will pay them all the same)
Speaker of the of the House Annual Salary of $215,000
Each member of the House receives between $1.2 million and $1.6 million
We will use and average $1.4 million x 435 = $609 million
(Each House member can hire up to 18 staff members)
Total House of Representatives Cost = $683 million
Each Senator Receives the same amount as Congressman $168,000 x 100 = $16.8 million
Their office expense is based on the size of their sate and is anywhere from $2.5 million to $4.1 million. Again using the average $3.5 million = $1.2 Billion (This is an average and not scientific in any way.
Total Senate Cost = $1.216 billion
Total Legislative Branch Cost = $1.8 billion
Note: This does not include the cost of any congressional travel or the cost to maintain the Capitol building or the House and Senate Office Buildings.
Now let’s look at the Executive Branch
President’s Salary $450,000
Vice President’s Salary $208,000
I did not realize until I started this research but the President does not get a free ride in the White House. He must pay for all meals that he and his family will consume in the private dining room. Obviously State dinners are paid for by you and me, but if the first family dines in the White House they have to pay for it themselves.
It costs $1.5 billion a year to run the White House. I found this very cool website with a breakdown of the expenses. It is from 2008 so one can assume it has gone up. Also keep in mind that any campaign related travel must be paid by the campaign and not by the White House Budget. If the President or the Vice President flies off to campaign for themselves or a congressman that is paid for by the Campaign. The White House also has no control over security, that is decided, without comment from the White House, by the Secret Service.
Compensation of the president (including an expense allowance of $50,000): $ 450,000
The Executive Residence operating expenses: $12,814,000
The Executive Residence—repair and restoration: $1,600,000
The vice president’s downtown office: $15,511,9603
Residence of the vice president—operating expenses: $320,000
The White House Office (including the Homeland Security Council): $53,656,000
Office of Policy Development (the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council): $3,482,000
National Security Council: $30,300,820
One-eighth of the Office of Administration, for direct services to the president pursuant to Section 3(a) of Executive Order 12028: $11,468,125
The president’s unanticipated needs: $1,000,000
White House Center Service Delivery Team (in the GSA budget): $26,000,000
U.S. Postal Service, White House branch: $726,000
National Archives professional archival support of the White House: $1,000,000
Value of gifts supplied by the Department of State for presentation to foreign leaders at White House official entertainment functions: $50,000
White House Communications Agency (in the budget of the Defense Information Systems Agency): $173,900,000
Air Force One (in U.S. Air Force budget) (classified) (Estimated cost: $200,000,000)
Helicopter squadron HMX-One (in the Marine Corps budget; this is the fiscal year 2008 appropriation segment of a fifteen year-long procurement of twenty-eight new helicopters): $271,000,000
Camp David (in the Navy/Seabees budget): $7,900,0005
Salary costs for 2,300 employees in above units 15, 16, 17, and 18 (all in the budget of the Department of Defense): $151,800,000
U.S. Secret Service (in the budget of the Department of Homeland Security) (21-26)
Protection of persons and facilities: $689,535,000
For protective intelligence activities: $57,704,000
For handling “special security events,” such as the 2009 Inaugural: $1,000,000
For screening of White House mail: $16,201,000
Operations of the James J. Rowley Training Center: $51,954,000
Improvements at the James J. Rowley Training Center: $3,725,000
Commission on White House Fellowships (in the budget of the Office of Personnel Management): $850,000
National Park Service White House Liaison Office, including the White House Visitor Center (in the budget of the National Park Service): $8,700,000
Cost of detailees who work more than six months in a calendar year: $227,349
Total Cost of the Decision Makers to the US Taxpayer is approx. $3.3 Billion.
Since these are the folks that make the decisions that affect the rest of us we should start with cutting $3.3 billion from the budget. Let them all work for the median income in the United States, that was $50,502 in 2011 or better yet they should all work for minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and pay them 35 hours a week with no benefits or $13,195 per year. Throw in one person to run their office and answer their phone.
I am for all the government we can afford, but if our elected officials are not going to do the hard work of making cuts then I say let the automatic cuts happen but it needs to start with them!