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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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