You Get What You Pay For

Governors around the U.

Governors around the U.S. earn anywhere from $70,000 to $200,000 per year. Most members of Congress now earn $169,300. Considering median personal income for American workers is less than $30,000, running for office might seem like a good job.Peasants with pitchforks, sit down. I’m about to suggest we sweeten the pot. Most Founding Fathers believed that paying salaries for elected officials would enable more people to run for office. Even 200 years ago, you would only run for office if you could afford to. The problem is that we haven’t gone far enough in elevating salaries of officeholders. Rod Blagojevich tried to shake down half the state of Illinois primarily to line his own pockets. Double the governor’s salary and that doesn't happen. Pay Congressmen half a million dollars a year and you’ll instantly have the top CEO’s in America dropping everything and running for office. Partisan politics aside, I’d much rather have a CEO running my government than hall of fame pitchers or NFL quarterbacks. Add $100,000 to the baseline salary of each member of congress and each governor and the cost is just $58,500,000. Compared to the $17,200,000,000 that Citizens Against Government Waste Identified as “pork” this year, that $58.5 million seems like a great investment.As Publisher of Campaigns & Elections’ Politics magazine and a former consultant and campaign manager, I’ve been honored to meet some of the smartest minds in public policy and been horrified to come into contact with some of the worst. Investing less than a hundred million dollars in serious salaries for governors and congressmen will go a long way toward fixing bad public policy, eliminating graft and restoring confidence in the quality of our elected officials.

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