General Question

jca's avatar

Why, in this era of budget tightening and economical problems, do Congressmen (and women) and other politicians get to keep their salary and benefits for life?

Asked by jca (36043points) June 17th, 2011

Politicians everywhere are looking to tighten up budgets and save money, and we hear constantly about public employees’ pensions costing so much, health care costing so much, local municipalities threatening to lay off people, corporations making so much profit and so many people are out of work, and other gloomy stories. Yet Congressmen (and women) and some other politicians get to keep their salaries and benefits for life. Does this seem fair to you?

What job can you get where you work for four years and get to keep that salary and full benefits for life? (I imagine this includes Weiner and others who resigned before him).

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12 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Because they’re making the rules.

jaytkay's avatar

Congressmen do not keep their salaries and benefits for life.

WestRiverrat's avatar

They pretty much do. Our congressman committed vehiclular homicide and because he retired voluntarily from congress he gets to keep 100% of his salary as his pension, adjusted annually for the rate of inflation. He was a congress critter for less than a year.

linguaphile's avatar

Right now Minnesota is facing a government shutdown on July 1 and 35,000 state employees have been laid off until the budget’s balanced. Right now we have too many young guns in the state legislature that don’t know how to compromise so they’re digging in their heels while taking home their pay, sleeping well, buying groceries and paying for soccer lessons. I’m one of the 35K employees so this question really gets personal with me.
I think the reason is simply, they make the laws so of course they won’t legalize against themselves. That’s how our government’s set up with checks and balances. Someone’s got to be able to check and balance the legislators, but doesn’t look like anyone’s stepping up. I think there should be some kind of law that says if the budget isn’t balanced by the deadline and the gov’t shuts down, those fat cats don’t get paid either.

jaytkay's avatar

@WestRiverrat Maybe that was a state legislator.

US Reps and Senators do not get 100% pensions. And they get nothing for serving 1 year. The minimum is 5 years.

josie's avatar

I’m not going to take points away, because I am sure that you are joking.
Only the most naive among us think that politicians actually give a shit about us.
They do what they do to benefit only their own self agrandizement.They are all amoral, greedy and egotistical. The only difference might be in degree.
Answer- of course they will keep all that. And some Saturday night, while you are asleep, they will vote to give themselves a raise. That is when they usually do it.

ETpro's avatar

It’s the 2nd corollary to the Golden Rule.

1st Corrollary: The man with the gold makes the rules.

2nd Corrollary: The man who makes the rules gets the gold.

In this case, the two work together. The men with all the gold fund the elections of the men who make the rules they get all the gold. See, they’re following the Golden Rule. Now aren’t you glad America has the best government money can buy?

chewhorse's avatar

@josie And those who are genuinely interested in changing the laws for the benefit of it’s citizens soon gets stomped over by the old birds who are determined to keep the status quo so these ‘youngsters’ are either voted out for not fulfilling their promises (which the vets vetoed right and left) or they join the club as their soul slowly rots amid the abuse and political favor as they too become old birds.. In the end it’s the money and power that draws one toward politics whether that was their original intention or not.

josie's avatar

In the end it’s the money and power that draws one toward politics whether that was their original intention or not

In the beginning it is the money and power, and it simply stays that way until the end.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because people this smart and talented and hard-working would earn at least 10 times more working for free enterprises. Countries need to attract talent to be run by them.

chewhorse's avatar

In the beginning it is the money and power, and it simply stays that way until the end.

Contrary to popular belief, there are still (a few) naive political hopefuls who genuinely believe they can make a difference (unfortunately they have to start from the bottom).. Fleeting once they get in to the Big Game (house, senate, presidency) when they get to see how things actually run, but somewhere within their quest, we should give them a small thumbs up for at least trying to live up to their word, after all, before they went into politics they were humans just like us (I think).

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