Politicians earn and benefit far too much in our society. They are not only uplifted as gods in this contemporary environment, but they are paid like kings, receive far too many benefits after they quit and, ironically, those who make the policies receive the most from the system. As taxpayers, we fund Congress’ salary and retirement pensions.
For retaining a position essentially based on the concept of civic duty, of serving this nation as a leader, members of Congress, in both the Senate and House of Representatives, are estimated to make three times the amount the average American salary. The average salary for each politician in 2016 was $174,000 per year, but the Speaker of the House earned $223,500 a year. The majority and minority leaders of both the Senate and the House, along with the President Pro Tempore, get paid $193,400 per year. According to the U.S. Census, the average income salary for Americans is $56,516. Those numbers seem a bit disproportionate.
Politicians also receive benefits even after they retire, so let’s consider that as their income too. Congress earns 80 percent of their salary as their retirement pension. If Congressional pay was at $174,000 per year, at an 80 percent rate, that equates to a pension of $139,200. All benefits are taxpayer-funded. Members of Congress also receive the same Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) as all other federal employees do, which is similar to a 401(k).
On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the average retired household in 2018 makes $48,000 annually before taxes, but the primary beneficiary of retirement income comes from Social Security. As of May, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers was $1,412, or just shy of $17,000 a year.
Of course, it’s no surprise that those who are running this country are ultimately setting up a system that is quite comfortable to their own lifestyles, but overall, it’s still wrong. Why should the average American earn less than the civic servant, especially when salary and retirement pensions rely on taxpayers to fund them?
In comparison, other civic servants, such as teachers and veterans, hardly receive anything after retirement. In Tennessee, teachers’ retirement pensions come out to $18,612 in 2016, just a little over what other people draw in from Social Security. Teachers, veterans and many more groups of people under other professions not only deserve more recognition but more benefits for their service to the public.
It is vital that we have a healthier view of politicians, one that focuses on the truth, which allows our society to build a bridge in understanding between voter, candidate and the American government. The status, salaries and benefits given to politicians need to be strongly revisited and questioned after the upcoming election.