Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

A modest proposal

November 22nd, 2010 by Vader

A comment on the Internet regarding the Waters ethics trial provoked a snark from His Majesty.

The comment in question was that

Nothing will happen. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Both sides do this sort of crap, why else would one spend millions of their own money for the chance to win a short-term job that only pays $175K per year? Rangel and Waters are guilty mainly of being dumb enough to get caught.

Solution? Throw all their larcenous [redacted] out, preferable straight into prison, then slash government budgets to the bone to remove the incentive for these types of parasites to run for office.

His Majesty pointed out that, while reducing the size and power of government is certainly a fine way to reduce the incentives for corruption, there are other approaches as well. One could, for example, give Congressmen salaries a little more commensurate with the incredible responsibility they carry.

Actually, His Majesty said it a lot more snarkily: “You can always count on the American voter to scrimp on paying the hired help, then complain loudly that they are stealing the silverware. Next they’ll decide that the right way to deal with the situation is to scrimp on paying the hired help even more.”

Note that His Majesty is not disagreeing that the hired help are stealing the silverware, only that this result is unsurprising; and that while one is perfectly justified in firing the lot, it might be a good idea to offer better compensation for those who replace them.

Comments (4)
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November 22nd, 2010 16:15:52

Adam G.
November 22, 2010

Certainly. Congressmen don’t need more salary, though. They need stock options.

Or a commission on every spending cut they make.

November 23, 2010

Personally, I think the problem is we’ve expanded government to the point that many think that Congress is a job, particularly a lifetime job with lots of perks. We need to make them part time and create term limits, so there is less need of increased salaries and less chance of the power corrupting politicians.

Replace them with statesmen, like George Washington or Harry Truman, who after fulfilling his commitment, quietly went home.

November 24, 2010

jindal proposed that recently also. Having interned with the part-time Utah State Legislature, I have to say that the part-time Congress sounds like a wonderful thing that would benefit all greatly; albeit perhaps the lobbyists. Unfortunately, almost all/any reforms end up putting more power in the hands of lobbyists [i.e. term limits = less experienced office holders that are beholden to lobbyists, etc]

November 24, 2010

Such political positions as I have held have all been appointed. But were I elected to Congress, I’m not sure part time would work very well for me. Death Star, Inc., would probably rather that I took a two-year unpaid leave of absence than that I flew out to Washingtion for a week every month, or a day every week, or whatever you envision as part-time.

Furthermore, some of the work by public-choice economists on rational ignorance suggests that we really do want a Congresscritter for whom it is a full-time job.

Being a Congresscritter is burdensome if it is done right. Making it part-time will not make it less so, nor is it clear to me that it would reduce the temptation or opportunity for corruption. I really do think the best ways to do that are (a) reduce the power the Government wields; (b) up the Congresscritters’ salaries to something resembling that of a CEO of a major business; and (c) pay a little attention to whom your’re electing.

I know that paying the current crop like a successful CEO is an idea that sticks in the craw. But paying Congresscritters as if they were doing the job the way you want them to is still a good idea. For one thing, it might make for a lot fewer unchallenged reelections.

Incidentally, His Majesty is cackling something about not needing to be all that strong in the Force to nail his prediction.

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