Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review January 5, 2009 / 9 Teves 5769

Congress: New year, new pay hike

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Unemployment is at its highest level in 15 years. Housing prices won't stop falling. The stock market has suffered its most punishing collapse since 1931, and shareholders have lost $7 trillion in wealth. Millions of workers have lost their jobs; millions more are worried about losing theirs. IRAs and 401k accounts have been decimated, and companies are halting their contributions to retirement plans. Retail sales are dragging, the credit markets have seized up, and worse is expected in 2009. The government has gone to unprecedented lengths to improve the economy, yet the economy keeps getting worse. The federal budget deficit is headed for a trillion dollars, and the national debt is well over $10 trillion — and climbing. The number of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track is at or near its all-time high; consumer confidence is at its all-time low.


So what do you do now?


Well, if you're a member of Congress, you give yourself a raise.


Beginning this week, US representatives and senators will be paid $174,000 a year. That represents an increase of $4,700 and the 10th time since 1998 that congressional pay has been given a boost.


As has become routine, this salary hike is taking place automatically — there were no hearings, no vote, no debate. No members of Congress stepped before the microphones to explain why their performance over the past year entitles them to a fatter paycheck. Or to make the case for helping themselves to more money at a time when so many Americans are out of work and financial distress is spreading. Or to shed light on the curious fact that people who are chronically late when it comes to passing appropriations bills or confirming judges never seem to miss a beat when it comes to pocketing more money for themselves.


Ask these distinguished solons if automobile executives should travel in private jets or if ExxonMobil's profits are too high, and they don't hesitate to give you an opinion. Ask them whether politicians making handsome six-figure salaries that are already more than triple the median US household income should be paid even more handsomely, and the only sound you hear is the crickets chirping in the distance.


"Finding anyone brave enough to defend the pay hike in Washington these days is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack," writes McClatchey's Rob Hotakainen. "When asked to comment, normally accessible members quickly go missing, are on vacation, are extremely busy with family members, or can't be reached on their cellphones because they're in remote locations."


Hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when members of Congress didn't make it an annual priority to pad their pay envelopes. In 1932, during the Great Depression, the House and Senate even cut their pay by 10 percent, then cut it by another 5.5 percent in 1933. Today's lawmakers, save for a handful of honorable exceptions, are about as likely to follow that precedent as they are to sprinkle anthrax on their Cheerios.


But even if they don't meet the ethical standards of the 1930s, couldn't they at least obey the Constitution they took an oath to uphold? The 27th Amendment bans members of Congress from giving themselves a raise without first facing the voters: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened." The House and Senate can boost salaries in the next Congress, but they are constitutionally barred from boosting their own.


Alas, the 27th Amendment is a dead letter. Congress claims that putting its salary on autopilot — it goes up every year without a vote — gets around the constitutional restriction, and the Supreme Court has refused to rule on the issue.


And so we have the spectacle of congressional multimillionaires like John Kerry, Lamar Alexander, and Nancy Pelosi awarding themselves bonuses at the expense of their constituents — some of whom aren't even getting a paycheck these days, much less a raise. You'd think members of Congress would be ashamed to take more of the public's money at a time when public approval of Congress is lower than ever.


Then again, if they were capable of shame, they wouldn't be in Congress.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles