Give the Bums a Raise!

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Public Citizen has a new report out today about the revolving door between Congress and K Street: “Forty-three percent of members of Congress [including fifty percent of all Senators] who left office since 1998 and were eligible to lobby have become lobbyists.” Now Public Citizen recommends sticking a foot in the door and enacting a bunch of “tough love” measures—like implementing a “cooling-off period” of two years after a legislator retires—that, while nice, have no chance whatsoever of passing. Members of Congress may have cut their own pay twice during the Great Depression, but they’re not about to back away from the goldmine now.

A better compromise would be to raise Congressional salaries to fairly high levels, maybe even boost their pensions, combined with a series of measures to clog up the revolving door, which would make members of Congress less likely to seek out lucrative lobbying jobs. Egad, right? Expand congressional salaries in a time of staggering deficits? Well, it’s either that or waste money on lavish government subsidies for big businesses that have hired former Senators to lobby for them. Giving the bums a raise isn’t quite as noble as Public Citizen-style austerity measures, but it has a better chance of working, no?

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THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

At least we hope they will, because that’s our approach to raising the $350,000 in online donations we need right now—during our high-stakes December fundraising push.

It’s the most important month of the year for our fundraising, with upward of 15 percent of our annual online total coming in during the final week—and there’s a lot to say about why Mother Jones’ journalism, and thus hitting that big number, matters tremendously right now.

But you told us fundraising is annoying—with the gimmicks, overwrought tone, manipulative language, and sheer volume of urgent URGENT URGENT!!! content we’re all bombarded with. It sure can be.

So we’re going to try making this as un-annoying as possible. In “Let the Facts Speak for Themselves” we give it our best shot, answering three questions that most any fundraising should try to speak to: Why us, why now, why does it matter?

The upshot? Mother Jones does journalism you don’t find elsewhere: in-depth, time-intensive, ahead-of-the-curve reporting on underreported beats. We operate on razor-thin margins in an unfathomably hard news business, and can’t afford to come up short on these online goals. And given everything, reporting like ours is vital right now.

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