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Let’s hear a cheer for a much maligned group of American workers, for they have stood up and done the right thing!
Not pimps, not drug chieftains, not Big Oil executives or Wall Street bankers – more maligned even than these. Yes, members of Congress! With a public approval rating ticking down toward single digits, these 535 workers could use a bit of good press, and they recently earned some. Actually, it was not for anything they did, but for something they did not do: they did not increase their pay this year.
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So let’s all lift our glasses of Dom Pérignon champagne to toast these frugal political stalwarts who voted to restrict their pay to the level they’re presently drawing – a mere $174,000 each. Plus health care. Plus pensions. Etc.
Okay, that’s a far better deal than 95 percent of American workers get, but it’s the thought that counts. And lest you think that our lawmakers are living the life of Riley while their constituents are scrambling to stay one step ahead of bankruptcy, let me point out that they, too, have been hit hard by the Great Recession, and their level of wealth has taken a tragic tumble. Did you know, for example, that the median net worth of U.S. Senators has fallen to only $1.79 million?
The media establishment gives wide coverage to the plight of the unemployed, but it ignores this compelling story of congressional wealth decline. Worse, we’re given sensationalist reports that while only one percent of Americans are millionaires, 44 percent of our lawmakers are in the millionaire class.
But, guess what? That supposedly damning number means that 56 percent of the members are not millionaires. How do you think that makes them feel? Let’s show some kindness here. It’s time for a national movement to save the congressional millionaires! Give generously, won’t you?
“Congress, where 44 percent are millionaires, freeze pay,” www.yahoo.com, May 3, 2010.