Congressman: Pay me MORE because $174K ain’t “decent quality of life”

Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who says politicians raking in $174,000 per year need $30,000 more.

The job description for a good congressman should be as follows: “change Washington before it changes you!”

Even for politicians who try to do the right thing, the corrupting influence of power in D.C. is overwhelming. Members of Congress who don’t abuse their offices still grow detached and tone-deaf over the years.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) displayed that attitude recently when he said members of Congress are underpaid and deserve a stipend of $30,000 per year on top of their luxury $174,000 per year salary.

“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill magazine. “Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the world…a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington.”

Remember: the median personal income for an American citizen is $26,964. That means Chaffetz and the rest of Congress already rake in 545 percent more than the average Joe – to say nothing of deluxe pensions, health care subsidies, free flights, free parking, free gyms, millions of dollars in office allowance and other perks the rest of us don’t get.

Getting elected to Congress is winning the lottery, but as Chaffetz tells it, he and fellow career politicians are really the poverty-stricken victims. If only the American taxpayer would put an additional $30,000 into each congressman’s panhandling cup, all would be right again.

Of course, no discussion of raises for Congress is complete without mention of the only reason why any employee gets a raise: as a reward for doing a good job.

Should Congress be rewarded for racking up $20 trillion in federal debt?

Should they be rewarded for a totally dysfunctional health care system?

Should they be rewarded for refusing to pass term limits despite support from Americans in all parties?

That’s not the resume of a model employee. It’s what one expects from insubordinate workers who don’t listen to their boss, the American people.

A key reason we fight for term limits is to keep members of Congress close and connected to the people they’re elected to serve. That way they see enough of the real world to know that a pay hike for pampered politicians is absurd.

Update: After commenting that Congress needs more money, Jason Chaffetz resigned from office. 

Nick Tomboulides is the Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits

About Nick Tomboulides