Leading by Example
By Matthew Stiemann
Currently a super committee is meeting in Washington desperately looking for ways to cut the deficit. Some want to raise taxes, others want to cut programs. Before the committee starts looking at either of those options which will affect everyday Americans, they should first consider doing something that would not affect the average citizen, and would show Americans that “we are all in this together” when it comes to balancing the budget. How could they do that? How could they encourage America to have an attitude of sacrifice for the good of the country? They could do this by giving themselves a pay cut.
Currently, members of Congress get salaries of $174,000 dollars a year. There are 535 Senators and Representatives in office, thus their combined salaries total $93,090,000 every year! What would happen if they took just a 10% pay cut, $17,400 per member? Each member would still make $156,600 per year- a salary which many Americans would love to make. In a single year the government would save $9,309,000. Over a ten year period, (the time over which the super-committee is supposed to be cutting the deficit), the government would save $93,090,000!
I know what many of you are thinking. Ninety-three million is nothing compared to the deficit which we have. That’s right. In the big picture, it is a tiny amount. But that’s not the point. The point is that Washington needs to lead by example. If we are going to get a balanced budget, sacrifice is going to be required on the part of all!
Americans have gone through hard times recently. The economic problems that our country has faced have caused many to be laid off, or to have their hours cut. Yet, now when it is time to balance the budget, the politicians are going to go to these people and ask them to sacrifice programs and services, or pay more in taxes. Obviously, cutting congressional salaries will not solve the problem. In order to balance the budget, programs which people enjoy will have to go. Taxes might even have to be raised. But before Congress asks the people to make either of those sacrifices, they should start by making a sacrifice themselves. They, as the leaders of this country, should set the example.