Staff/Office costs for Congress

Discussion in 'Politics' started by matt wade, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Congressional_offices_and_staff

    Some interesting summations:

    According to the article, staff and office costs for Senators "ranged from $2,264,345 to $3,751,995". Let's take the bottom number and multiply it out. $2,264,345 x 100 = $226,434,500. So, at a minimum we are spending over 200 million dollars a year on the staff and offices of just the Senators! Outrageous!

    Now, let's check the Representatives.

    According to the article, the "total amount of allowance provided to Members of the House ranged from $701,136 to $1,636,750". Let's do the math again, still using just the bottom number. $701,136 x 435 = $304,994,160. So, at minimum we spend over 300 million dollars a year on the staff and offices of the Representatives. Again, outrageous!

    For those of you keeping count, that's over half a Billion dollars a year spend on the offices and staff of Congress. That doesn't include all the other costs involved with the Legislative Branch that aren't tallied up per an individual office.

    My proposal? Give each member of Congress a single staffer. Their office budget should compare to a private sector budget for an office of comparable size (1 executive with a single staffer). Travel expenses should be reimbursed, but budget should be kept in mind the same as in the private sector. No congressman should be allowed to fly or travel above business class. We should provide a dormitory for Congress when they are in session. The dormitory would be of Embassy Suites level of comfort (for those that have not stayed in Embassy Suites, they are nice, but not overly fancy). If a congressman decides not to stay in the dormitory, they pay out of pocket.
     
  2. Steven2006

    Steven2006
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't they currently pay out of pocket for their homes in DC?
     
  3. Steven2006

    Steven2006
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree that staffs have gotten too large and too expensive. However I want my government to be properly run, and well informed. I think with just one staffer this would be impossible. I have not read enough to know enough about this to be able to suggest the right number, but I am certain one is to little.

    We are not some third world government, our elected officials should have a topnotch efficient office.
     
  4. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    Yes, I believe they do. There is a tax deduction they can claim.

    The dormitory is part of my overall "master plan", which is obviously not described here. In that master plan, congress would not be in session nearly as much as they are now. Currently they are in session way too long. They shouldn't need to be in session more than 3-4 months out of the year. The rest of the time they should be back in their home state working a normal job.
     
  5. Steven2006

    Steven2006
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    You took time to make a master plan? I think you have too much time on your hands. :tongue3: (just joking)
     
  6. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    Staffs have gotten too large and too expensive because our government has gotten too large. They need to stop legislating on 75% of the matters they currently legislate on. If we removed 75% of their workload, reducing staff and the time spent in session would be easy.
     
  7. Steven2006

    Steven2006
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Messages:
    2,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Seriously though, since they currently pay out of pocket for their DC homes, wouldn't it cost the taxpayers a whole lot more money to build and maintain an executive dorm for hundreds of people? That sounds like a money pit if I ever heard one.
     
    #7 Steven2006, Nov 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2010
  8. Robert Snow

    Robert Snow
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Much ado about nothing. This money is fractional when looked at objectively.
     
  9. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,126
    Likes Received:
    220
    One staffer per Congress - wouldn't work.

    A congressman represents some 500,000 people. Numerous requests come in. Someone needs to read, investigate, and act on these action.

    Also, take Montana for example, they have one Congressman for an area that covers some 147,046 square miles. If a square, that would be 383 miles by 383 miles. Do you expect a constitute to drive over 300 miles to see his Congressman? I think not.
    Does the Congress waste money for its mission, of course, and those areas should be addressed.
    I would be hesitant to say that Congress should only meet 3 or 4 months per year, but I do think they are in session for far too long.
    Thats all for now
     
  10. carpro

    carpro
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    20,911
    Likes Received:
    295
    Interesting.

    I see a well deserved pay cut coming somewhere in your plan.:thumbs:
     
  11. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    Currently in order to be a member of Congress you need to part of the elite class. Providing a dormitory would be one step in allowing your average Joe to become a legislator.
     
  12. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    Just about any part of governmental spending can be classified as you have.

    If we can chip away small part by small part, eventually we can bring government back to a reasonable spending level.
     
  13. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    You got that right!
     
  14. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    No, they don't. Congressmen are there to legislate, not do favors for citizens to gain votes. Much of what congressmen do now is basically campaigning and they do it with tax dollars. We need to bring the job back to its roots, cut out the majority of what they spend their time on, and reign in the power hungry mindset.
     
  15. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,126
    Likes Received:
    220
    One of the jobs of Congressman and other legislators is to assist citizens. For example, a friend of mine was stopped for a minor traffic offense. The police checked his DMV record and it indicated his license was suspended. Actually, it was another driver, downstate with the same name. Raul, upon my recommendation called his state senator. Within 24 hours his license was squared away. (as a taxi driver, this was urgent business) Had he personally went thur DMV and the courts, well who know how long. I have also contacted my reps for assistance, both for actions I needed assistance with and to propose bills. Of course the motivation for helping should not be for votes, though it is likely to happen. Raul said he would vote for Nancy in the next election - even though he had no ideal where she stood on the issues. In my case, my state assemblyman has helped me quite a bit in my requests, and I actually ran against him on the ballot!

    Anyways lets take a look at the income an outgo of tax money
    From the Washington Post
    as you can see, Social security just about pays for itself. The problem with SS is the additional benefits they have added to the program over the years, as well as the fact that Americans are living longer. (in the 30's the average life span was 62) The real big problem is Medicaid. For a more detailed expense sheet check this link The biggest expenses is defense - which is constitutional - though there is an augment for overseas activities. Also the treasury dept spends up to 700 billion, much of it of it for interest.
    Otherwise the largest dept by cost are Agriculture, education, Personnel mgt, labor and highways(though excise tax should cover most of their costs)

    Bottom line is that taxes collected are not necessarily being used for their intended purpose.

    As far as paying taxes the top 25% of wage earners paid 86% of all income taxes.
    This link explains the story in more detail.

    What is more amazing is that 58 million Americans pay NO income tax - with 97% of them making under $40,000 per year. And some of them actually get back more (Earned income credit) than that which was withheld!

    To understand in layman's term, consider this story of Ten men who went to lunch and Paid the way the Progressives* would have all pay taxes.

    Please someone prove to me this story does not make cents! Until you do, do not complain about the rich getting off easy.

    Yes, this is all about income tax, not others such as SS, excise, sales, ect.

    Salty

    * code for Liberal
     
    #15 Salty, Nov 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2010
  16. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    You've just described a function that a congressman should not be performing. A congressman is not the personal ombudsman for the citizens in their area. A congressman's job is to write and vote on laws.
     
  17. billwald

    billwald
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2000
    Messages:
    11,414
    Likes Received:
    0
    >A congressman's job is to write and vote on laws.

    Maybe back when congress was mostly lawyers. Now days the reporting laws for elected officials result in the only people who can run for office don't know anything and have never done anything. That is one reason they might need a large staff. <G>
     
  18. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,126
    Likes Received:
    220
    What prohibits a congressman from being a ombudsman (and not necessarily a personal one)

    In the case I gave, the State messed up, and I believe it was the responsibility of the State to square it away. Yes, Raul could have went thur "channels" but we all know about the red tape. Sen Nancy did a great job.
     
  19. targus

    targus
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    8,459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are we sure that we want to provide dormitory access to guys like Barney Frank?
     
  20. matt wade

    matt wade
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,156
    Likes Received:
    76
    I agree that the State should square it away. That doesn't mean it is the job of a congressman. There are channels to deal with it. Red tape there? Let's deal with that also, but just because there is red tape doesn't mean we need to inflate a part of government that isn't responsible.
     

Share This Page

Loading...