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Political Honesty
Posted: 16 February 2013 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Nancy Pelosi says cutting politician’s salaries is an attack on their dignity.  At least shes being honest, and stating what politicians are feeling.

http://now.msn.com/nancy-pelosi-says-cutting-congress-pay-undermines-dignity-of-job

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Posted: 16 February 2013 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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IIRC it was Ben Franklin’s idea that polticians shouldn’t be paid. The problem with that theory is that it implies only the independently wealthy can be politicians.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with politicians and judges being paid a good salary. The problem with political corruption is separate and much deeper than take home pay.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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dougsmith - 16 February 2013 05:59 PM

IIRC it was Ben Franklin’s idea that polticians shouldn’t be paid. The problem with that theory is that it implies only the independently wealthy can be politicians.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with politicians and judges being paid a good salary. The problem with political corruption is separate and much deeper than take home pay.

Not that separate.

Senators get paid well enough, they have excellent benefits, and they likely all get kickbacks; a moderate pay cut won’t hurt them - and if it does, they shouldn’t be there in the first place.  To keep rewarding them for being douchebags just drives us further towards the breaking point.

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Posted: 16 February 2013 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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They aren’t being rewarded for being douchebags, they’re being rewarded for being senators. As such, decent pay and benefits should be expected. If there are “kickbacks”, they should be revealed. They are a different matter.

We should always distinguish reasonable pay and benefits from illegal “kickbacks” and suchlike corruption. It does no good to confuse them.

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Posted: 17 February 2013 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Not that separate.

Senators get paid well enough, they have excellent benefits, and they likely all get kickbacks; a moderate pay cut won’t hurt them - and if it does, they shouldn’t be there in the first place.  To keep rewarding them for being douchebags just drives us further towards the breaking point.


Frankiln’s idea came from the fact that the congress met infrequently and legislators should rely on their funds for support. Most of them were “gentlemen” that is able to support themselves while attending to the nation’s business, but as it happened more problems had to be addressed and the congress soon met on a regular basis. To offset the cost of travel and expense of staying in the capital they were given pay and privileges. The current salary of $174,00 sounds like a lot to us middle class joes but in private practice they could make three to four times that amount, e.g. The oil company across the river here has a CEO making over a million a year, and that’s just salary. So, personally I don’t begrudge the senators their pay and benefits. In fact they may turn down ANY pay increase and some do. What concerns me though is the influence of the powerful lobbies like the NRA with it’s “report card” used to scare congressmen into voting their way, and there are many more lobbies out there. And there appears to be no real solution either as lobbying is as old as the government itself. Limiting campaign contributions won’t stop the process either, especially with the powerful PACS. Kickbacks however will get you censured and prosecuted. Of course you could end up as a commentator on Fox.

 

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Posted: 17 February 2013 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 17 February 2013 06:21 AM

Not that separate.

Senators get paid well enough, they have excellent benefits, and they likely all get kickbacks; a moderate pay cut won’t hurt them - and if it does, they shouldn’t be there in the first place.  To keep rewarding them for being douchebags just drives us further towards the breaking point.


Frankiln’s idea came from the fact that the congress met infrequently and legislators should rely on their funds for support. Most of them were “gentlemen” that is able to support themselves while attending to the nation’s business, but as it happened more problems had to be addressed and the congress soon met on a regular basis. To offset the cost of travel and expense of staying in the capital they were given pay and privileges. The current salary of $174,00 sounds like a lot to us middle class joes but in private practice they could make three to four times that amount, e.g. The oil company across the river here has a CEO making over a million a year, and that’s just salary. So, personally I don’t begrudge the senators their pay and benefits. In fact they may turn down ANY pay increase and some do. What concerns me though is the influence of the powerful lobbies like the NRA with it’s “report card” used to scare congressmen into voting their way, and there are many more lobbies out there. And there appears to be no real solution either as lobbying is as old as the government itself. Limiting campaign contributions won’t stop the process either, especially with the powerful PACS. Kickbacks however will get you censured and prosecuted. Of course you could end up as a commentator on Fox.

 

Cap’t Jack

What are you trying to say, Jack?

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Posted: 17 February 2013 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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dougsmith - 16 February 2013 07:04 PM

They aren’t being rewarded for being douchebags, they’re being rewarded for being senators. As such, decent pay and benefits should be expected. If there are “kickbacks”, they should be revealed. They are a different matter.

We should always distinguish reasonable pay and benefits from illegal “kickbacks” and suchlike corruption. It does no good to confuse them.

That attitude will get us nowhere.

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Posted: 17 February 2013 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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What are you trying to say, Jack?


So you want me to cut to the chase Mike? Ok, I have no problem with the Senators getting their current salary and benefits. In relation to corporate salaries, it’s a pittance. I hate lobbying and wish it would be outlawed; and that’s cutting my own throat too (NEA), I like watchdog committees who check illegal behavior by congressmen and I don’t mean sex scandals and corporations aren’t people no matter how you spin it.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 17 February 2013 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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mid atlantic - 17 February 2013 07:07 AM
dougsmith - 16 February 2013 07:04 PM

They aren’t being rewarded for being douchebags, they’re being rewarded for being senators. As such, decent pay and benefits should be expected. If there are “kickbacks”, they should be revealed. They are a different matter.

We should always distinguish reasonable pay and benefits from illegal “kickbacks” and suchlike corruption. It does no good to confuse them.

That attitude will get us nowhere.

Huh? An attitude of clarifying the difference between reasonable salary and corruption will get us nowhere? What are you talking about?

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Posted: 17 February 2013 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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dougsmith - 16 February 2013 05:59 PM

IIRC it was Ben Franklin’s idea that polticians shouldn’t be paid. The problem with that theory is that it implies only the independently wealthy can be politicians.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with politicians and judges being paid a good salary. The problem with political corruption is separate and much deeper than take home pay.

Why not pay them the average salary and benefits of a US public school teacher?  Many Americans do live on a teacher’s salary and raise children on it, not particularly well, but they do it,  so it shouldn’t be that onerous.  They might develop a better understanding of how an average American lives—that is if they aren’t wealthy from other means.  Teachers are professionals so elected officials should be satisfied with the salary and benefits of teachers.  Why should electd officials be paid so much more?  Their jobs are not harder than teachers’ and they get even more days off.

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Posted: 17 February 2013 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Lois - 17 February 2013 01:16 PM

Why not pay them the average salary and benefits of a US public school teacher?  Many Americans do live on a teacher’s salary and raise children on it, not particularly well, but they do it,  so it shouldn’t be that onerous.  They might develop a better understanding of how an average American lives—that is if they aren’t wealthy from other means.  Teachers are professionals so elected officials should be satisfied with the salary and benefits of teachers.  Why should electd officials be paid so much more?  Their jobs are not harder than teachers’ and they get even more days off.

That’s a specious argument. Why teachers and not, for example, fire fighters or police? Whose jobs are worth more? Whose are harder? Do we ordinarily reimburse people based on the difficulty of their jobs?

Ordinarily pay tends to be based on the amount of responsibility one has in an organization: those with more responsibility are paid more. Politicians have responsibility over public schooling, so one would expect them to be relatively better paid. That said, public school teachers at least in NYC are relatively well paid, and I’m not sure they—at least those with seniority—are in fact paid that much less than elected officials.

My point above was different, however. We can quibble over whether $50,000 or $150,0000/yr is adequate, but the point is that the position should be a paid one with a decent salary, and there should be no shame in expecting that. The problem with government is not the base salary, it’s the other methods of payment that corrupt the decision making process. Whether salary is X or Y will not change someone’s vote; whether they get some outside form of remuneration (or can expect excess remuneration after retiring from public office) might, because often those external sources of remuneration are based on whether and how someone is willing to vote. E.g., one voting against funding for global warming can probably expect a cushy retirement in some crank think-tank.

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Posted: 17 February 2013 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I agree with Doug.  They need to be well paid, however, other things should apply such as publically funded elections, severe penalties on both the lobbyist and the legislator who gives or accepts any bribe, elimination of super PACs and any advertising that didn’t come from the government funding.  Everything we can do to make it more difficult for politicians to be dishonest and for people to try to influence them with money or power will help.

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Posted: 17 February 2013 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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dougsmith - 17 February 2013 07:38 AM
mid atlantic - 17 February 2013 07:07 AM
dougsmith - 16 February 2013 07:04 PM

They aren’t being rewarded for being douchebags, they’re being rewarded for being senators. As such, decent pay and benefits should be expected. If there are “kickbacks”, they should be revealed. They are a different matter.

We should always distinguish reasonable pay and benefits from illegal “kickbacks” and suchlike corruption. It does no good to confuse them.

That attitude will get us nowhere.

Huh? An attitude of clarifying the difference between reasonable salary and corruption will get us nowhere? What are you talking about?

What I mean is that it seems you’re setting the bar too low for them, being too charitable in assessing the character of politicians.

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Posted: 17 February 2013 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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dougsmith - 17 February 2013 02:10 PM

Ordinarily pay tends to be based on the amount of responsibility one has in an organization: those with more responsibility are paid more. Politicians have responsibility over public schooling, so one would expect them to be relatively better paid.

Yes, but what if the people in high responsibility positions show themselves to be inadequate for those positions?  This is often the case with politicians. Why put up with that BS?

Since the inherent corruption in our government makes it difficult to penalize the bad behavior of politicians, (who are almost all rich to begin with) a slightly lowered salary would maybe help to ease the public’s powerful distrust of politicians.

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Posted: 18 February 2013 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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mid atlantic - 17 February 2013 08:53 PM
dougsmith - 17 February 2013 02:10 PM

Ordinarily pay tends to be based on the amount of responsibility one has in an organization: those with more responsibility are paid more. Politicians have responsibility over public schooling, so one would expect them to be relatively better paid.

Yes, but what if the people in high responsibility positions show themselves to be inadequate for those positions?  This is often the case with politicians. Why put up with that BS?

If they break the law, they should be prosecuted. If convicted, they should be kicked out of office and serve their time. Just like anyone else. But one doesn’t become a villain simply by being a politician.

mid atlantic - 17 February 2013 08:53 PM

Since the inherent corruption in our government makes it difficult to penalize the bad behavior of politicians, (who are almost all rich to begin with) a slightly lowered salary would maybe help to ease the public’s powerful distrust of politicians.

I don’t think a lowered salary would make any difference whatever to the public distrust of politicians, which is “inherent” as well. My point, though, is more fundamental. Associating the size of a politician’s regular paycheck with “corruption” is incorrect. Corruption has nothing to do with their regular paychecks. It has to do with everything except their regular paychecks. If politicians could be guaranteed a paycheck double what they get now and nothing more when in or out of office, there would be much less room for normal corruption.

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Posted: 18 February 2013 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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That’s a specious argument. Why teachers and not, for example, fire fighters or police? Whose jobs are worth more? Whose are harder? Do we ordinarily reimburse people based on the difficulty of their jobs?

Ordinarily pay tends to be based on the amount of responsibility one has in an organization: those with more responsibility are paid more. Politicians have responsibility over public schooling, so one would expect them to be relatively better paid. That said, public school teachers at least in NYC are relatively well paid, and I’m not sure they—at least those with seniority—are in fact paid that much less than elected officials.

My point above was different, however. We can quibble over whether $50,000 or $150,0000/yr is adequate, but the point is that the position should be a paid one with a decent salary, and there should be no shame in expecting that. The problem with government is not the base salary, it’s the other methods of payment that corrupt the decision making process. Whether salary is X or Y will not change someone’s vote; whether they get some outside form of remuneration (or can expect excess remuneration after retiring from public office) might, because often those external sources of remuneration are based on whether and how someone is willing to vote. E.g., one voting against funding for global warming can probably expect a cushy retirement in some crank think-tank.


I agree here Doug, and once again my contention was that the reps. do have more responsibility than a teacher or any public servant for that matter, and their current salary of $174,000 doesn’t even compare with salary schedules in the private sector. In short, they would be making ten times that amount in the private sector. And this isn’t the cushy job detractors make it out to be, reps. For example have to spend time at the home office as well as back in DC. They only have two years and that has to be broken up campaigning for the next election while their opponent is sniping at their heels. Besides, 47% of the Congress are millionaires anyway and don’t need the salary and some have refused a pay raise. It’s the outside contributions that have always concerned me and if I were king lobbies would be shut out entirely in order to level the playing field. The only influence a congressman should have is the will of the people he/she represents. BTW, New York City teachers don’t quite make a National legislator’s salary. Their schedule starts out on a par with ours (Ohio) but far outstrips us beyond the master’s level. But even then it falls way short of a Congressional salary. Of course you also have to factor in the cost of living in NYC and surrounding area. My highest salary, gained after 35 years of service and a masters+ was $60,000 while NYC teachers would make $100,000. After 22 years in the classroom so it’s probably comparable to here.


http://schools.nyc.gov/nr/rdonlyres/eddb658c-be7f-4314-85c0-03f5a00b8a0b/0/salary.pdf

 

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