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Members of Congress Earn Big Salaries and Fringe Benefits
Posted By Mike Brownfield On July 29, 2011 @ 4:16 pm In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled
Congress’ job approval ratings  have sunk to around 20 percent, while their disapproval is up to an average of 73.4 percent. Yet for all of America’s dissatisfaction—and Congress’ failure to combat the nation’s fiscal crisis—Members of Congress are earning salaries and fringe benefits that far exceed those of the average American, according to a new report by Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance .
The report details  how Members of Congress earn a salary of $174,000—that’s 3.4 times higher than the average full-time American worker, who earns $50,875 per year. Even if you compare Members of Congress to more educated, private sector employees, they’re still doing pretty well—those Americans earn on average $83,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance report  that the congressional base salary is just the beginning. If you count the $110,000 in taxpayer-funded fringe benefits Members receive (including plush retirement plans, paid time off, and contributions to Social Security and Medicare taxes), they’re earning close to $285,000 per year.
The report  goes a step further and compares Congress’ salaries and benefits to 12 other developed nations (using a ratio of legislators’ salaries to wages for average full-time workers). The result? Members of Congress are the second highest paid internationally, falling just below Japan.
But here in the United States, when it comes to being an overpaid federal employee, Members of Congress have plenty of company. Heritage’s James Sherk explains in USA Today  that the average federal employee cleans up in comparison to private sector workers in America:
The average federal employee earns an annual salary almost 60% higher than the average private-sector employee — $79,000 vs. $50,000. Federal employees do have more education  (on average) than private-sector workers. Their unions argue that this justifies their higher pay. But it doesn’t. Even after controlling for education and experience, federal employees get paid significantly better — 22% more per hour, on average — than private-sector workers.
Though not all federal workers earn above-market pay, Sherk explains that “Overall, government workers earn well above what their private-sector counterparts make, even before you consider benefits.” And those benefits include near-absolute job security, robust retirement and health benefits plans, paid leave, group life insurance, and even on-site child care.
So it seems that the job of a Member of Congress or a federal employee isn’t a bad one, if you can get it. The grass is greener on the other side, and the U.S. taxpayers are paying to keep it that way.
Click here  to read more about high federal pay—and what can be done about it—in James Sherk’s report, “Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service.” 
Click here for the full report “Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money’s Worth?” by Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance .
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/07/29/members-of-congress-earn-big-salaries-and-fringe-benefits/
URLs in this post:
 approval ratings: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html
 new report by Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance: http://www.protectingtaxpayers.org/assets/files/Congressional_Compensation.pdf
 Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Screen-shot-2011-07-29-at-2.42.03-PM.png
 USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-07-07-column07_ST1_N.htm
 more education: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/are-federal-workers-overpaid/
 Click here: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/07/inflated-federal-pay-how-americans-are-overtaxed-to-overpay-the-civil-service
 Our Generation and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance: http://www.protectingtaxpayers.org/assets/files/Congressional_Compensation.pdf20TPA%20Report.pdf?attach=1
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