We all are aware of the discontent most of us feel with our national legislative and executive branches of government at this time. There is no need to point out the surveys; we are the people who want real change. We talk a lot of spending as well. What are we spending on their salaries?
The pay for rand and file congress folk is $174,000 per year. This means a person serving a 4 year term will receive in salary $696,000 in their tenure. For the leadership the salaries are:
· Majority Party Leader - $193,400
· Minority Party Leader - $193,400
· Speaker of the House - $223,500
· Majority Leader - $193,400
· Minority Leader - $193,400
From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.
Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3% of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2% of their salary in Social Security taxes.
Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they've completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Members of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.
The amount of a congressperson's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member's retirement annuity up to 80% of his or her final salary. That is a nice return on a 1.3% investment. This means that the average congress person can pay around $2,262 annually and receive up to $139,000 annually. That is a 50 fold return on the retirement investment!
The median personal wealth for members of Congress grew to $911,510 in 2009, up from $785,515 in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Nearly half of the members of Congress are millionaires.
As for the president, the annual salary of the president of the United States was increased to $400,000 per year, including a $50,000 expense allowance. That is $1.6 million for one term.
Under the Former Presidents Act, each former president is paid a lifetime, taxable pension that is equal to the annual rate of basic pay for the head of an executive federal department -- $199,700 in 2011 -- the same annual salary paid to secretaries of the Cabinet agencies.
Each former president and vice president may also take advantage of funds allocated by Congress to help facilitate their transition to private life. These funds are used to provide suitable office space, staff compensation, communications services, and printing and postage associated with the transition. As an example, Congress authorized a total of $1.5 million for the transition expenses of outgoing president George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.
The salary of the vice president is currently (for 2011) $230,700.
In 1974, the Justice Department ruled that presidents who resign from office before their official terms of office expire are entitled to the same lifetime pension and benefits extended to other former presidents. However, presidents who are removed from office due to impeachment forfeit all benefits.
Six months after a president leaves office, he or she gets funds for an office staff. During the first 30 months after the leaving office, the former president gets a maximum of $150,000 per year for this purpose. Thereafter, the Former Presidents Act stipulates that the aggregate rates of staff compensation for a former President cannot exceed $96,000 annually.
It seems that the big business getting paid for failing institutions that congress barked about aren’t the only ones receiving big tax funded pay and benefits for their failing actions.