While we are all discussing the possible government shutdown and the affected government paychecks, I’d like to point out that freshmen lawmakers earn five times the amount of first year military officers. Lawmakers salaries are ten times the amount paid to first year enlisted service members.
Though some lawmakers have pledged to return their paychecks to the Treasury Department should there be a government shutdown, not all representatives are on the same page. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif), who happens to be one of the ranking members on the House ETHICS Committee, told MSNBC that she is simply not willing to forgo her salary. She has financial obligations which include student loans, care for her two year old son (the kid must have a silver spoon in his mouth), and she has to make payments on more than one home.
The irony in this situation is simply too much, and yet it paints the perfect picture of what is wrong with this country.
Here we have a lawmaker who promised, when elected, to represent her constituents. She has been given the responsibility to sit on a committee which must deal with values relating to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions, and yet she can’t see what might be wrong with her continuing to receive her salary, (and we are paying her to simply be stubborn), while our military members must forego their paychecks.
Sanchez is worried about making TWO house payments and caring for just one child. Most of our service members can’t even afford to buy ONE home and many of them have several mouths to feed.
Is Sanchez saying that she simply can’t make it a couple of weeks without her $174K salary? For starters, I would suggest that Representative Sanchez get rid of her second home. After all, President Obama callously told a father of ten children earlier this week that if he was going to complain about gas prices, he should trade in his SUV for a hybrid van as if this transaction could be easily handled at the Wal-Mart return counter. Seems like a no-brainer that Sanchez can only live in one house at a time, so someone please help her put up the For Sale sign!
Our deployed troops have enough to worry about just trying to stay alive. They don’t need to be worried about whether or not their families back home will have food on the table next week.
I’ve heard all sorts of comments suggesting that if our miilitary families were being thrifty enough, they would have money set aside in case of an unforeseen emergency such as a government shutdown. I am sure that most of our military families would have plenty of money set back if they were all making $174K a year! If Rep. Sanchez can’t afford to miss a paycheck, how does she think anyone else can afford to miss one?
While our lawmakers, (you know those true “servants” representing WE THE PEOPLE) are making budget cuts, the first place they can save money is by cutting their own salaries. I suggest that we pay the lawmakers at the same rate we pay our enlisted troops. Anyone in Washington who is not willing to work for the same pay rate as our enlisted troops needs to step down and let someone else step up.
Benjamin Franklin suggested, during the Constitutional Convention, that elected government officials not be paid for their service. I think he was onto something. If you are going to pay someone $174K a year, pay those who stand in harm’s way, halfway across the globe. Let’s put the value on the jobs with the actual risk and the actual sacrifice.
Service members, on their initial assignment at the enlisted level of E-1 receive $1,1467.60 each month or $17,611.20 a year. For those who earned a college degree before beginning their military career, service members who begin their assignment at the rank of O-1 earn $2,784.00 each month or $33,408 annually. (http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/militarypaytables/2011MilitaryPayTable1-4.pdf)
Freshmen lawmakers make $174,000 a year. (http://www.legistorm.com/)