I was awake most of the night thinking about the situation with unemployment.  Congressional Republicans are refusing the increase the time allowed for one to stay on unemployment because they are trying to force more fiscal responsibility.  Now I support the idea of more fiscal responsibility but do we need to take it out on one of the most vulnerable populations?  According to an article in today’s Boston Globe, 60,000 residents of Massachusetts will see their unemployment end on Christmas Day if Congress does not act.

So I started to think about what it costs us to have a Congress.  If we want to force fiscal responsibility let us take a little look at what it costs to run Congress each year.  The most recent numbers I could find in a quick google search came up with these little nuggets.

Each Member of the House has an average of 14 Staff members in Washington
Each Member of the Senate has an average of 34 Staff members in Washington
They all have District offices with staff as well and with Senators they might have more than one district office. (The average District Office will have 6 Staff members with an average salary cost of $292,046) 
In 2007 the Rank and File member of Congress was paid $168,000 with leadership being paid $186,600 and the Speaker of the House $215,700.

They do pay 25% of their health care costs however they are eligible for free outpatient care at military facilities around the world and there is a doctor on staff at the Capitol Building.  Each member is assessed at yearly fee of $491 (2007)

Keep in mind this does not include benefits or the money it costs to keep the Congressional swimming pool and gym running as well as all of the other perks they receive.

Now what does it cost to run their offices.  I hope you are sitting down!

In 2005 the average cost for an average office for a member of the House of Representatives was $1.3 million for the Senate it was between $2.7 million and $4.3 million EACH!  There are 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate!  Now my math is not great but I believe that comes to $565.5 Million for the House and $270 million for the Senate at the low end!  And that is each year.

Just to keep things equal let’s look at Executive and Judicial Branch Salaries

President $400,000
Vice-Pres $208,100 (2005)
Cabinet Secretaries $180,100
Dep Sec $162,100
Under Sec $149,200
Asst Sec $140,300
Administrators $131,400

Chief Justice Supreme Court $208,100 (2005)
Associate Justices  $199,200 x 8 = $1.59 million
Courts of Appeals $171,800
US District Courts $162,100
Bankruptcy Judges $149,132

According to the Census Bureau the Median household income in the United States in 2006 was $50,233 a far cry from the $168,000 a freshman member of Congress will make.

I propose the following:

In 2009 the Federal Minimum Wage was $7.25 per hour.  Pay each and every elected official and political appointee in the Federal Government $7.25 per hour and only pay them for 40 hours.  That would come out to $15,080 per year .  From that they will have to pay health insurance and if they wish to have any pension they will have to pay that with no contribution from the Federal Government.  This should significantly reduce the amount our government costs us. 

I call upon all the candidates that were elected from the Tea Party to reduce their office staff and cut back on the amount of money their office costs us each year.

I am for all the good government we can afford but when peoples lives hang in the balance, people by the way that did not cause the economic situation and people who are just trying to get by, I find it hypocritical that someone who makes $168,000 is denying extended unemployment benefits to people.  I take that back it is not hypocritical is shameful and dare I say sinful.


  1. In the past I have also suggested that anyone employed by or in a specific level of govt -along with their immediate family and retainers – prevented from voting in elections for that level of govt because, in a real sens, their vote has been purchased. Disenfranchisement would remove a lot of tainted voted from the box.

  2. I know several people who have been on unemployement for 2 years now and they will not take any job that will not pay them less then what they were making in the world before they were laid off.
    they have told me they will not consider any job that pays them the same or less then what they are making on unemployement compansation.
    So what do we do about these people,and there are many?

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