Let’s Save Poor Congressmen Some Money

I was speaking with a buddy of mine yesterday, who is a staunch conservative. He is retired Air Force. He and his wife just got back from a nation-wide tour of all the Air Force bases he was stationed at over the years. He said it was a great trip down memory lane.

His only complaint was how expensive everything was and that invariably turned into a rant about how it’s Washington’s fault and then degraded into a tirade.

Practically yelling, he exclaimed, “Do you know how much money those bums in Congress make?”

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I laughed and said, “Funny you should mention it, for I was planning to write about just that thing.” So I guess now is as good a time as ever.

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Thinking about it led me to recall a Democrat Congressman, just this past April, whining that they don’t make enough money. As you too may recall, it was Virginia Democrat Jim Moran, who is retiring this year.

In case you are unfamiliar or just need a reminder, the average, off the rack Congressman makes around $300,000 per year. Congresswomen make less – the war on women and all.

Of course I’m kidding. They all make the same, unless you’re part of the leadership.

Those who know are saying to themselves – He’s Wrong! They only make $174,000. Well, if you’re saying that, you’d be wrong. Yes, their salary is $174,000, but you forget to add in the whopping $82 grand that we, the taxpayer, kick in every year for their pension. And no, there’s no contribution on their part – no matching funds. It’s in addition to their salary. Then add all the other freebies, perks and benefits, and it all adds up to around $300,000 a year.

So, you may ask, what was Moran’s problem? Well, I don’t think it was/is his problem. I’m quite sure he volunteered to float the topic of congressional pay raise because, after all, he’s retiring, so what does he care.

So what was his reasoning? In April, Moran said, “I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid. I understand it is widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the Board of Directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

First, Jim, you guys work less than anyone I know. Second, you campaigned for the job, which means you must have wanted it. No one forced you to be a Congressman. Third – really – Board of Directors?! Honestly?! What Board of Directors would have Sheila Jackson Lee on it, or any of the hundreds of other morons who call/called themselves Congressman or Senator?

But that wasn’t Moran’s only complaint. He also complained that members could not afford two homes – one in their district and one in Washington. He said, “A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington,” noting that some of his colleagues sleep in their offices or rent tiny apartments to save money.

This also could not have been a problem for him, being that his district is minutes away from DC. More proof he is a surrogate whiner.

So, if that is his major complaint, I think I can solve it.

Here’s an answer from the government buddies at Google – directly from their “Corporate Governance Guidelines” pertaining to their Board of Directors. Hey Jim – that’s you!

“Attendance at Board meetings. To facilitate participation at the board meetings, directors may attend in person, via telephone conference or via videoconference. Materials are distributed in advance of meetings.”

How about this from the ultraliberal state of California’s corporate code 5211: “(6) Directors may participate in a meeting through use of conference telephone, electronic video screen communication or electronic transmission by and to the Corporation (Sections 20 and 21).”

And there you have it Jim – problem solved. It’s called teleconferencing or videoconferencing. It’s all the rage – don’t ya know.

So stay in your district, where you’re supposed to be and videoconference meetings, caucuses and votes. Yes, it will make slimy backroom deals more difficult but hey, you may just have to sacrifice.

Pick two or three times a year, where everybody travels to DC for something extraordinary. Otherwise, stay in your district.

See Jim, it’s not hard to solve problems when one is motivated. Of course, I’m just a dope from New Hampshire – not a member of the Board.

I’ll even give you the website to start your research. www.GoToMeeting.com.

You’re welcome!

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