Why Politicians Don't Get No Respect
The most recent example of how Congress is consumed by trivia is this story in the July 29th AdAge.com:
Sen. Conrad Burns is proposing legislation that would give the federal government oversight authority for the accuracy of media rating systems.
How could a United States senator care two hoots about media rating systems unless some little aide stuck a bee up his nose or some cable company lobbyist bought him a steak dinner at Capitol Grill?
Little wonder we are looking at a pathetic 29 percent approval rating of a Congress totally out of sync with those who elected them.
The Solution: Pay Legislators a Decent Wage
Members of the House and Senate each should be paid $600,000 a year to keep them honest and focused on the people's business rather than their own.
They and their families could maintain two residences, live like normal human beings and pay off their credit cards, rather than plying the D.C. party circuit for food and trolling for cameo parts in Owen Wilson flicks.
In terms of the national budget, this proposed increase would be a drop in the swimming pool.
On July 27, Public Citizen issued a press release that said 43 percent of lawmakers who left office since 1998 have become lobbyists. Presumably these wildly underpaid ex-pols--quite reasonably--feel the need to start making some real money.
Given the poor job they did as legislators, one has to draw the conclusion that under the current system they screw over taxpayers when they come to Congress and again when they leave.
My Congressperson's House
In addition, I would propose that every Congressional District set up a 501(c)(3) corporation titled, "My Congressperson's House."
Ongoing contributions would provide a nice (but not grandiose) dwelling in downtown Washington, D.C., completely furnished down to bed and bath linens and flowers on the tables--plus a housekeeper--for representatives and their families to live in during their time in the capital. The cost to the member of Congress would be the $3,000 housing allowance they now get.