Since members of Congress are constantly inventing new laws aimed at controlling the behavior of the American people, I think it’s time we turn the tables on them. We need to create new incentives/disincentives to curb their bad behavior. I’ve got a couple of ideas.
I have been wondering why Congressional pay is not commensurate with the benefits Congressmen and Congresswomen confer on American society. I mean really, the U.S. Senate under Harry Reid’s misleadership did not pass a budget, as required by law, for three years in a row (fiscal years 2010-2012). By my math, and considering that the federal debt is $16½ trillion, rather than paying members of Congress six figures with lifetime pension and benefits, they should be paying us back for the damage they are doing to our country. Seriously, they should be paid very little at best. Maybe $50,000 to start and decrease their salary by 10% for every year they serve. This, I think will encourage people who want to serve in Congress for the right reasons, not for selfish ones. Let’s take the perks and the profits out of the job. If the incumbents don’t like this new arrangement, let them find a better paying job in the real world.
One unintended consequence of this new pay scale for Congress may be that it creates an incentive to engage in funny business. Therefore, if a member of Congress is convicted of taking bribes worth $10,000 or more there should be a mandatory minimum 10 year jail sentence. And since politicians love having buildings named after them we can honor their vanity by renaming federal prisons after any of them are convicted under the new system. As an example, instead of using the boring name Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale we could re-name it the William J. Jefferson Federal Prison. It has a nicer ring to it wouldn’t you agree? Jefferson was a Louisiana congressman who, you may remember, was sentenced in 2009 to thirteen years in federal prison for accepting bribes. Federal agents actually seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson’s kitchen freezer. It’s time to heap buckets of disgrace on any Congressman- turned-criminal who only pretends to serve the interests of the American people.
Oh, and while we’re at it, do you think it would be too much to ask Congress to eliminate the taxpayer-funded Senate Hair Care Services? Oh….the hardship!
Dear Reader: Please let me know if you have any ideas of your own to help improve Congress.