Sunday, September 4, 2011

Refiguring Congressional Salaries - Maybe They're Over Paid?

Recently we’ve seen a couple Congressmen publicly complain about how much they are being paid. Aside from the chutzpah displayed when so many of our fellow Americans find themselves unemployed or under-employed I believe their complaints should be viewed from a different paradigm. While I acknowledge that many will say that figures lie and liars figure I will risk the wrath of all those who were so unfortunately elected to office – only after they raised campaign funds and spent like mad dogs asking for your vote. Congress in this country should not be viewed as a way to make your fortune but as a way to serve the people of the country you profess to love – I’m looking your way Sara Palin (yes I know she was never in Congress).
 $    174,000
2011 Base Salary
 $        83.65
FT Hourly Rate - 40 Hrs / Week * 52 Weeks = 2,080 Hours
 $        19.86
24 / 7 Hourly Rate - 24 Hours * 365 Days = 8,760 Hours
 $        21.35
Mean Averge Rate 2010
2010 Days in Session - House
2010 Days in Session - Senate
Average Days in Session - ( 125 + 156 ) / 2
Weekdays in 2010 Number of days Monday - Friday in 2010
Federal Holidays in 2010
Days not in Session - ( Weekdays - Days in Session - Fed Holidays )
Weekend Days - ( 365 - Weekdays in 2010 )
OMG Days Off ! - ( Days not in Session + Weekend Days )
Percentage of Calendar Days Off - ( 203 / 365 )
 $      134.26
FT Adjusted Hourly Rate = $ 279,259 per year
 $        44.75
24 / 7 Adj Hourly Rate = $392,037 per year

The current Congressional base salary is $174,000 which is nothing to shake a stick at considering how much of the people’s work they aren’t getting done. If this were an episode of the Soprano’s we might even call this a “no show job”. Well based on a 40 hour work week this would equate to $83.65 per hour – but of course Congress will tell you that they serve 24 / 7 and the real rate in their mind is closer to $19.86 or 93% of the average mean of all workers in the United States in 2010. This may be true but can anyone recall when the Congress did anything for an extended period of time 24 / 7 – vacations or time off excluded? Additionally, I don’t believe the taxpayer should be left holding the bag for the time Congress takes to be wined and dined by lobbyist or working to fill their campaign coffers. After adjusting for weekends, Federal holidays and days not in session that leaves us with a Congressional workforce away from their duties 55.6% of the time. Quick check your benefit package from your job to see how you measure up to our Congressional yardstick. I would say that these people are under-employed and have time to find a good part-time job to help out with the family budget – perhaps send their significant other out to find a job that pays more than minimum wage.

Just as some people do with teachers’ salaries - I have recalculated your rates based on actual time in the classroom… I mean the House & Senate. Figuring that even the Representatives identified in the links above would agree that they should only be paid for the time they are “producing” something of value their rates would be $134.26 an hour or approximately $279 thousand a year or if we go by their 24 /7 argument it would be $44.75 an hour or approximately $392 thousand a year. Welcome to your new paradigm – the one that says the poor have stuff so they aren’t really poor and the wealthy actually create jobs.

So Representatives Duffy and Southerland cheer up – your financial plight isn’t as dire as you thought. I’m sure the annualized adjusted salaries are respectful enough even for you. If they aren’t you still have the option of not running for re-election and entering the blistering hot jobs market of which you did nothing to contribute to in this new Congress. Keep complaining and we’ll have to start taking a good hard look at your benefits too.

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