Lawmakers Have Long Rewarded Their Aides With Bonuses
While Congress has been flaying companies for giving out bonuses while on the government dole, lawmakers have a longstanding tradition of rewarding their own employees with extra cash — also courtesy of taxpayers.
Capitol Hill bonuses in 2008 were among the highest in years, according to LegiStorm, an organization that tracks payroll data. The average House aide earned 17% more in the fourth quarter of the year, when the bonuses were paid, than in previous quarters, according to the data. That was the highest jump in the eight years LegiStorm has compiled payroll information.
Last year alone, more than 200 House lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, awarded bonuses totaling $9.1 million to more than 2,000 staff members, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of office-disbursement forms. The money comes out of taxpayer-funded office budgets, and is surplus cash that would otherwise be forfeited if not spent.
Payments ranged from a few hundred dollars to $14,000. Lawmakers, at their own discretion, gave the money to chiefs of staff, assistants, computer technicians, and more than 100 aides who earned salaries of more than $100,000 a year.
Now, let it be known that I do not have a problem with paying a bonus to a deserving employee. But Congress, who wastes more money daily that most Americans can make in many years of hard work and whose approval ratings were at an all time low, should not have been paying any bonus money out during this fiscal crisis. I am sure one of the reasons is that without the bonus, many employees would not stay at their positions, but is that not the same reasoning that AIG and other financial institutions gave?
Our Government would like to have things both ways. Punish those in the private sector and reward those who work for them. It is time to end this double standard.