When was the last time you received an end of year (calendar or fiscal) bonus? If you did, how much did you receive? If you’re one of the fortunate few, you may have received a 3% to 5% present bonus.
Now how would you feel if I told you that many federal congressional staffers are receiving double-digit bonuses? But wait, there’s more! You and I are paying those bonuses with our tax dollars.
According to a recent report by LegiStorm, the average bonus given to many congressional staffers was 14% of their normal salary. It doesn’t matter whether the Representative is a Democrat or a Republican in being generous with our hard earned tax money.
In fact, the number one culprit guilty of dishing out the most in bonuses is Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI). The bonuses given by Trott was nearly equal to the annual pay his staff receives. Trott’s office responded by saying that he pays his staff about 35% less than most congressional staffers, which supposedly justified giving them such huge bonuses at the end of the year.
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), not only gave his staff a sizeable bonus at the end of the year, but also gave them a pay hike of about 19%. In 2014, the average annual salary for congressional staffers was $30,000, which makes surviving in the DC area rather difficult. It should be no surprise that about 46% of congressional staffers seek higher paying jobs within the first year of working for a congressman or woman.
Congressmen and women are given a budget for staff. Whatever spent at the end of the year either goes back to the Treasury Department or can be used for staff bonuses. Guess which option most congressmen and women take? Yep, bonuses. About 88% of congressional staffers received bonuses in 2015.
Learning about the high bonuses given to their staffers won’t help the already poor approval ratings of members of Congress. Recent polls indicate that 64% to as much as 86% of Americans disapprove of Congress.
Compared to the federal budget, congressional bonuses may not seem like much, but when you have a national debt of over $19 trillion, every dollar matters. What it does show is the lack of fiscal responsibility of our members of Congress. Most of them seem to have the mindset that a few thousand or million dollars here and there won’t make that much difference, but they fail to realize that it really does.
If any of us handled our budget the way Congress does, we would be bankrupt, homeless and probably jobless. Gee, America IS virtually bankrupt and I think that many current members of Congress need to be jobless and possibly homeless to see the real ramifications of their careless nonchalant handling of our tax money. Perhaps we should remember this when we go to the polls in November.