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gunflint

Did Everyone Get Their Raise?

30 posts in this topic

Congress did.

With economy in shambles, Congress gets a raise

By Jordy Yager

Posted: 12/17/08 05:41 PM [ET]

A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.

Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.

“As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain,” said Daniel O’Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan group. “This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter.”

However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.

Still, Steve Ellis, vice president of the budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, said Congress should have taken the rare step of freezing its pay, as lawmakers did in 2000.

“Look at the way the economy is and how most people aren’t counting on a holiday bonus or a pay raise — they’re just happy to have gainful employment,” said Ellis. “But you have the lawmakers who are set up and ready to get their next installment of a pay raise and go happily along their way.”

Member raises are often characterized as examples of wasteful spending, especially when many constituents and businesses in members’ districts are in financial despair.

Rep. Harry Mitchell, a first-term Democrat from Arizona, sponsored legislation earlier this year that would have prevented the automatic pay adjustments from kicking in for members next year. But the bill, which attracted 34 cosponsors, failed to make it out of committee.

“They don’t even go through the front door. They have it set up so that it’s wired so that you actually have to undo the pay raise rather than vote for a pay raise,” Ellis said.

Freezing congressional salaries is hardly a new idea on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers have floated similar proposals in every year dating back to 1995, and long before that. Though the concept of forgoing a raise has attracted some support from more senior members, it is most popular with freshman lawmakers, who are often most vulnerable.

In 2006, after the Republican-led Senate rejected an increase to the minimum wage, Democrats, who had just come to power in the House with a slew of freshmen, vowed to block their own pay raise until the wage increase was passed. The minimum wage was eventually increased and lawmakers received their automatic pay hike.

In the beginning days of 1789, Congress was paid only $6 a day, which would be about $75 daily by modern standards. But by 1965 members were receiving $30,000 a year, which is the modern equivalent of about $195,000.

Currently the average lawmaker makes $169,300 a year, with leadership making slightly more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) makes $217,400, while the minority and majority leaders in the House and Senate make $188,100.

Ellis said that while freezing the pay increase would be a step in the right direction, it would be better to have it set up so that members would have to take action, and vote, for a pay raise and deal with the consequences, rather than get one automatically.

“It is probably never going to be politically popular to raise Congress’s salary,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to find taxpayers saying, ‘Yeah I think I should pay my congressman more’.”

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Just got the email this week. "Effectively immediately there is a hiring and pay freeze." Not great news but I am happy to still have a job the way things are going.

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Yep, that's how it is all around. Why is 80k not enough a year for these idiots? Even that's too much for most of them. I don't understand the six figure numbers for the little amount of time they put in.

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From the story:

However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.

The folks on Social Security get a nice raise, too.

Fixed income, my fanny. They've been getting increases faster than the rest of us.

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I work for a small group of farmers managing their hog facility. Just met with them last week and when asked if I or the other employees "wanted a raise" I told them no, I realize they didn't make much if any money last year. I told them a cost of livung raise was optional (if they could afford it).I'm not going to jeapardize a good thing just to get a few more dollars in my pocket. Thats what it amounts to after Uncle Sam gets done with it anyways. EVERYBODY needs to tighten the belts, not just the ones that are forced into it.

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Lawmakers have floated similar proposals in every year dating back to 1995, and long before that. Though the concept of forgoing a raise has attracted some support from more senior members, it is most popular with freshman lawmakers, who are often most vulnerable.

It would seem that these are the people who aren't indoctrinated by the normal mode of operation that comes with being a career pollitician. IMO, possibly a good argument for term limits. Keep relatively fresh people cycling through who haven't become so out of touch with their constituents or maybe even reality.

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I work for a small group of farmers managing their hog facility. Just met with them last week and when asked if I or the other employees "wanted a raise" I told them no, I realize they didn't make much if any money last year. I told them a cost of livung raise was optional (if they could afford it).I'm not going to jeapardize a good thing just to get a few more dollars in my pocket. Thats what it amounts to after Uncle Sam gets done with it anyways. EVERYBODY needs to tighten the belts, not just the ones that are forced into it.
This really strikes home! Look at what the producers get for their product,Then look at the final cost to the consumer,Who's makin all the money?? The big money get the profits!

Cornflakes 4-5 cents of corn in a box! Who's makin the money?

It really irritates me! Hard working people gettin bent over!

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I take a 5% salary cut starting January 1st, merit increases suspended for 2009, company match on 401K for 2009 suspended.

Not a pleasant thing from a personal standpoint. But from a big picture, I still have a job, my health and a wonderful family.

These measures have been taken to avoid reduced head count and go from top to bottom. I think it's an enlightened response but hope further steps aren't needed.

The Government shouldn't be any different than the rest of us.

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So far only minimal changes where I work, they suspended admin/management bonuses and supposedly raises, they rest of us are limited to a max of 2% increase, they changed how we can take sick leave did away with education spending. That is for starters. There were also some layoffs and a bit of restructuring in management, but no pay cuts even for those demoted.

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I got lucky, I got my raise about 2 months ago and got my bonus a few weeks ago.

This week and email came out freezing all hiring, salaries and bonuses. Looks like I squeeked in under the wire.

I was surprised I got the raise and bonus knowing how the economy has been.

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I worked in the ethanol industry for the past 10 years. For the last 3 years I took pay cuts. This June I jumped ship and started new in a whole different industry. I'm glad I did for to many reasons for me to list.

I have a stable job now in a pretty secure industry, or so I think. No raises, but no cuts either. I'm glad I made the move.

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From the story:

However, at 2.8 percent, the automatic raise that lawmakers receive is only half as large as the 2009 cost of living adjustment of Social Security recipients.

The folks on Social Security get a nice raise, too.

Fixed income, my fanny. They've been getting increases faster than the rest of us.

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Cost of living increase? Congress does not have to pay hardly anything for cost of living. They get reduced rate housing, no health insurance costs, no retirement costs, and I don't think they have to pay for social security. They need to take a pay cut if anything.

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I agree coach, they should be taking a pay cut, but they never will. Would be nice to dictate your own raises wouldn't it? As far as SS, my parents live off of it and it's brutal.

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Or if they would be paid based on performance, they would be writing a check to the government instead of receiving one. Just makes me sick.

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Or if they would be paid based on performance, they would be writing a check to the government instead of receiving one. Just makes me sick.

Who are you kidding? They do a great job!! Why else do they all keep getting voted in? sick

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I just got my yearly review and I am getting a 3.5% pay increase and a yearly bonus, and I am involved soley in the automotive industry and the internet. Our company averages a 30% increase year over year for the last 5 years and this year we dipped into the 25% range. Our CEO is preparing for increases next year in the single digits. We are affected but we are keeping our heads above water. I feel for those of you who are affected more negativly by this economy. I am so glad I jumped out of the newspaper business a few years ago, it was a sinking ship!

Windy

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No pay raise for me this year either. Still glad to be employed, but I give it one year to turn around before looking elsewhere.

Although I don't think it should be mandatory for congress to suspend their raise, it would have been a positive gesture to the Unite States public. It should have at least made it out of committee, so that there could have been a vote.

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Just got the news that everyone in my company has to take a 10% cut starting Jan 15th......merit raises suspended until conditions improve.

No time line as to when the 10% gets reinstated.

But....I still have a job, and it still pays enough to feed the fishing habit.....guess I can't complain.

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I got a 25 cents an hour pay raise and then I noticed that I'm paying dues now. smirk At least I'll have a union working for me now. (not sure which emoticon I could use here)

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