Here's Why We Should Pay Congress $1M Per Year

Alex Pareene explains why we actually should make lawmakers rich

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 7, 2014 9:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – You were probably outraged when Rep. Jim Moran said members of Congress can't live on $174,000 per year, right? But over at Salon, Alex Pareene makes the case for why we actually should pay lawmakers more—say, a million bucks a year. Yes, we all hate Congress, but here's the truth: "A Congress that is made up of rich-but-not-super-rich people is going to be more corruptible than a Congress of really rich people," Pareene writes. That's because many lawmakers want to be ultra-rich, which is how we end up with scandals like Bob McDonnell accepting illegal gifts while he was governor of Virginia.

That craving to be mega-rich is also why members of Congress "advance the interests of their funders far more often than they advance the interests of regular folk," Pareene writes. To remove the influence of the rich on government, "we ought to try to free our lawmakers from reliance on wealthier benefactors." And higher salaries would be a sort of campaign finance reform: "Everyone loves it when a billionaire candidate like Michael Bloomberg promises to be 'above politics' because he can fund his own election, so why not let members of Congress do the same?" Click for Pareene's full column.

John Boehner enters the House of Representatives chamber in Washington, Jan. 3, 2013. He is escorted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Our options are either full public financing of elections combined with much more equitable tax redistribution, or making Congress just rich enough to stop relying so heavily on the largesse of the super-rich. - Alex Pareene

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