The median salary in the United States is around $50,000. Apparently, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) has decided he can no longer live on three times that as he makes a mere $174,000 a year as a sitting member of Congress.
“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” the Florida Democrat said at a Rules Committee meeting, referring to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary. “We aren’t being paid properly,” he later added.
Most taxpayers, looking at their paychecks which pale in comparison to Rep. Hastings’s take home pay would agree Congress isn’t being paid properly. They might look at the massive amounts taken out of their checks to pay Hastings’s massive salary and wonder why Congress is paid so much!
Hastings, on the other hand, did not offer a specific amount that would constitute a raise. He said he did not file an amendment on the appropriations bill to raise member pay because he knew it would not pass. But he did say, “The least we could have done for ourselves is to give us a tax credit.”
Washington’s expensive housing market was chief among Hastings’ concerns. He said he moved into a $2,100-per-month apartment in Senate Square, a luxury complex in Northeast D.C., but was eventually priced out, as the rent continued to increase.
Perhaps Hasting’s problem isn’t the size of his paycheck. Maybe his problem is he just doesn’t know how to budget. Based on his work record in Congress, its pretty clear spending within his means isn’t Rep. Hasting’s strong suit.
“This institution is heading towards elitism,” Hastings said. “And that’s crazy.” He said that members with children come to realize “that on the salary that they make, they’re going to be unable to send their children to college.”
In other words, members of Congress will have to live like the rest of America, the America they have plundered and sold down the river for years.
Update** — Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has leaped upon the Congresscritters are underpaid bandwagon.
“This will be the seventh year in a row that we have not done a cost-of-living adjustment. … I think it was appropriate at the time of the recession,” Hoyer said. “But to continue that on, we will dictate that the only people who can serve are the rich, and I don’t think that’s what the Founding Fathers had in mind.”
In most other circumstances, for example if he’s talking about raising taxes on the rich, someone who makes three times the median income would be considered rich by Hoyer. But since we’re now talking about his checkbook, rich becomes something much different.