Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Members of Congress: Virtual American Royalty… At Taxpayer Expense

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Members of Congress as virtual royalty,
have raised their pay 9 times over 9 years,
but raised Minimum Wage only 3 times in 18 years.
While Congress now pays themselves almost
3x the Median Household Income,
since 2000,
Inflation has totaled 37.4%.
And with 72% subsidies, Employer Contributions,
and other
luxurious perks unavailable to the Average Citizen,
including full Retirement Vestment after 5 years,
and 72% subsidy for Healthcare Insurance in Retirement,
their Healthcare is practically free.
And you’re paying for it.
But yours is not.
And you’re paying for it, too!

Members first received $6 a day in 1789, today they get $174,000 annually, in addition to phenomenal perks, health insurance, and retirement… all at taxpayer expense.

Presently, Congress also gets:
• Employer contribution to Healthcare Insurance
• Access to 57 Gold-Tiered Healthcare Plans
• Subsidy of 72% on Healthcare Insurance
• Access to Office of the Attending Physician
• Free Dental & Outpatient Care at DC area military facilities
• Healthcare Insurance transferability upon retirement w 72% subsidy to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
• Full Retirement vestment after 5 years

In 1989, Congress passed an ethics reform law that included an annual cost of living adjustment for themselves. That automatic pay raise was created in exchange for not getting paid for private speeches. The pay raise, based on a formula, is automatic unless Congress took a vote to stop it. The law – even if it had the best of intentions – created a system where members of Congress receive raises without having to be on-record voting for them.

Here a brief history (2000-2017 in charts and graphs) of Congress’ taxpayer-paid salaries, Minimum Wage (MW), Inflation, and Median Household Income (MHI).

 

Minimum Wage (in green) compared to Inflation (in blue)

 

Year

Congressional
Salary $/year

Minimum Wage
$/hour

Inflation %

Median Household
Income $/year

2000

141,300

5.15

3.4

58,544

2001

145,100

5.15

2.8

57,246

2002

150,000

5.15

1.6

56,599

2003

154,700

5.15

2.3

56,528

2004

158,100

5.15

2.7

56,332

2005

162,100

5.15

3.4

56,935

2006

165,200

5.15

3.2

57,379

2007

165,200

5.85

2.8

58,149

2008

169,300

6.55

3.8

56,076

2009

174,000

7.25

(-0.4)

55,683

2010

174,000

7.25

1.6

54,245

2011

174,000

7.25

3.2

53401

2012

174,000

7.25

2.1

53,331

2013

174,000

7.25

1.5

55,214

2014

174,000

7.25

1.6

54,394

2015

174,000

7.25

0.1

57,230

2016

174,000

7.25

1.3

59,039

2017

174,000

7.25

 

Annual Congressional Salary (in blue) compared to Median Household Income (in green)

 

Cost of living is tied to wages, because wage levels are measured against expenses required to maintain a basic standard of living throughout specific geographic regions. Living wage refers to a wage that allows an individual to afford adequate shelter, food and other necessities, substantial enough to ensure that no more than 30% is spent on housing. The goal of a living wage is to allow employees to earn enough income for a satisfactory standard of living.

According to the Congressional Research Service, as of October 1, 2014, there were 351 former members of Congress who had retired under the Civil Service Retirement System. Those members were receiving an average annual pension of $72,660. A total of 250 Members had retired with service under FERS and were receiving an average annual pension of $41,652 in 2014.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items (CPIAUCSL)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items (CPIAUCSL) is a measure of the average monthly change in the price for goods and services paid by urban consumers between any two time periods.(1) It can also represent the buying habits of urban consumers. This particular index includes roughly 88 percent of the total population, accounting for wage earners, clerical workers, technical workers, self-employed, short-term workers, unemployed, retirees, and those not in the labor force.

The CPIs are based on prices for food, clothing, shelter, and fuels; transportation fares; service fees (e.g., water and sewer service); and sales taxes. Prices are collected monthly from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments across 87 urban areas. To calculate the index, price changes are averaged with weights representing their importance in the spending of the particular group. The index measures price changes (as a percent change) from a predetermined reference date.

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