Congressional Staffers Are Being Paid Less Than Ever

I’ve had this in an open tab for a couple of days, but it’s too interesting to close out without sharing:

This is from Josh McCrain, a grad student at Emory. For some reason, salaries for congressional aides have been declining for the past two decades. (All figures are adjusted for inflation.) The only exception is for staff assistants, who can hardly be paid any less.

Why? I have no theories. Maybe in the same way that Silicon Valley engineers are attracted by stock options more than salary, congressional aides these days are attracted mostly by post-Congress lobbying opportunities. Anybody have any other ideas?