Wonkblog is a part of the Washington Post and unlike the Post, it tends to delve much deeper into numbers, causes, and the like. In general, very policy “wonk” oriented stuff. Me being me, I love charts, graphs, tables, and numbers and I’m very much at home reading Wonkblog.
Timothy Lee, no not the Commissioner from Cobb County, makes an interesting argument about Rep. Gingrey’s comments. In short Lee was arguing that Congress deserves a pay raise.
He compares, with an awesome graph, in real terms (inflation adjusted dollars) the income of Congress, the top 5% of earners and the top 1% of earners (ie 95th percentile and 99th percentile). The graph shows a decline of the real value of congressional pay since 1970. He then goes to argue that :
That’s a problem. Not because members of Congress “deserve” to be in the top 1 percent of the income spectrum. But because the declining economic fortunes of members of Congress has systematically negative consequences on Congress’s performance.
It makes for an interesting read. Especially when you think about our state legislators that only make 10% of what a congressman makes. Though it is very unlikely that a raise for legislators at any level to happen in the current political climate (think snowball and hell).
It gets really interesting if one were to look abroad at some governmental officials. In Singapore, while the President and Prime Minister just received pay cuts, they are both still among the highest paid government officials in the world pulling in $1.5 million and $1.7 million respectively. A cabinet member in Singapore will make around $1.1m.
The reason for this was that Singapore wanted to attract highly capable people, like a Fortune 500 company offering high pay to find a CEO. Maybe if we followed the example of the business world, we’d be able to attract more capable officials and actually govern.