What IF Congress was on Merit Pay — like average folks are

( – promoted by buhdydharma )




1. A traffic jam in which no vehicular movement is possible, especially one caused by the blockage of key intersections within a grid of streets.

2. A complete lack of movement or progress resulting in a backup or stagnation:

“the political gridlock that prevented … the President and Congress from moving expeditiously to cut the budget”

gridlockChiefly US


1. (Engineering / Automotive Engineering) obstruction of urban traffic caused by queues of vehicles forming across junctions and causing further queues to form in the intersecting streets

2. a point in a dispute at which no agreement can be reached; deadlock political gridlock


1. to block or obstruct (an area)



Informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions.


Those were the Days!  when a Filibuster actually stood for something.

These Days, a Filibuster means an early plane flight, or a long weekend, a well-deserved Vacation.

Filibuster in the U.S. Senate

In the modern filibuster, the senators trying to block a vote do not have to hold the floor and continue to speak as long as there is a quorum, although the Senate Majority Leader may require an actual traditional filibuster if he or she so chooses.[23] In the past, when one senator became exhausted, another would need to take over to continue the filibuster. Ultimately, the filibuster could be exhausted by a majority who would even sleep in cots outside the Senate Chamber to exhaust the filibusterers. Today, the minority just advises the majority leader that the filibuster is on. All debate on the bill is stopped until cloture is voted by three-fifths (now 60 votes) of the Senate.

How quaint:   I advise you — You Suck!  We quit.

And the RESULT of this modern practice in “civility” —

Has been none other than this disturbing Trend of Non-Action:

YET those results, have not really been “linked to their wages”, in any real and significant way …

Congress, where 44 percent are millionaires, freezes pay

by David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers — May 3, 2010

In almost every profession, salary increases are dependent on performance, experience, tenure or any number of factors other than really showing up to work every day,” said Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, a longtime opponent of the pay raise.

Craig Holman, ethics and campaign finance lobbyist for Public Citizen, a congressional watchdog group, noted that lawmakers probably won’t feel much financial pain from their vote.

This isn’t where most members of Congress get most of their wealth. They got it through business enterprises they had before coming to Washington,” he said.

Senators had a median reportable net worth of $1.79 million in 2008, the last year such data were available, down from $2.27 million in 2007. House members’ median net worth was $645,503 in 2008, down from $724,258 the previous year.

The Millionaire Members of Congress ?SOMEHOW? manage to make their Mortgage Payments —

Whether or NOT Congress actually passed substantial laws, or watered-down mush … OR Nothing!

The Members of Congress have managed to get Rewarded in spite of the trend of doing less and less — great work if you can get it, I guess ..

Salaries of members of the United States Congress


Time Frame    Salary    per diem/annum

1789-1815    $6.00    per diem

1815-1817    $1,500    per annum

1817-1855    $8.00    per diem

1855-1865    $3,000    per annum

1865-1871    $5,000    per annum

1871-1873    $7,500    per annum

1873-1907    $5,000    per annum

1907-1925    $7,500    per annum

1925-1932    $10,000    per annum

1932-1933    $9,000    per annum

1933-1935    $10,000    per annum

1935-1947    $10,000    per annum

1947-1955    $12,500    per annum

1955-1965    $22,500    per annum

1965-1969    $30,000    per annum

1969-1975    $42,500    per annum

1975-1977    $44,600    per annum

1977-1978    $57,500    per annum

1979-1983    $60,662.50    per annum

1983         $69,800    per annum

1984         $72,600    per annum

1985-1986    $75,100    per annum

1987 (1/1-2/3) $77,400   per annum

1987 (2/4)    $89,500    per annum

1990 (2/1)    $98,400    per annum

1991          $101,900   per annum

1991 (8/15)   $125,100   per annum

1992          $129,500   per annum

1993-1997    $133,600    per annum

1998-1999    $136,700    per annum

2000         $141,300    per annum

2001         $145,100    per annum

2002         $150,000    per annum

2003         $154,700    per annum

2004         $158,100    per annum

2005         $162,100    per annum

2006-2007    $165,200    per annum

2008         $169,300    per annum

2009         $174,000    per annum

Data Source senate.gov (pdf)

Imagine if average Joe and Jane workers could get such a deal,

Do Less and Less,

Get Paid, More and More … Where do I sign up for that deal?

Household income in the United States

Median Worker Salary  vs Congressional Pay

How about a bit more Compare and Contrast, please …

US Census data: Household income in the United States

using the link for “All Races” …

Census data for Household Incomes

Table H-1. Income Limits for Each Quintile (1/5th of population)

Household Incomes: 2nd Quintile  vs Congressional Pay

Household Incomes: 2nd Quintile, 3rd Quintile  vs Congressional Pay

Household Incomes: 2nd Quintile, Top Households  vs Congressional Pay

NO.  Instead, the average Joe and Jane worker, must worry about keeping our stagnant-wage Jobs

IF we are lucky enough to still have one.

And those of us unlucky enough to have been “let go“, must worry instead, about keeping our homes, keeping our health,

Keeping our HOPE

THESE are the worries that our Congressional Leaders, rarely face.

THEIR Jobs are safe, NO matter what they Do — or DON’T Do.

Apparently THEIR Salaries are based on simply “showing up” — NOT Actually getting anything DONE!

End the filibuster in Senate; it has led to minority rule

by Bill Press: 2/1/2010

Until recent years, the filibuster was the exception, not the rule, designed to allow any senator to stop a vote on pending legislation by debating it as long as he wanted. There were only two conditions. The objecting senator had to continue speaking from the podium, without interruption, for the duration of the filibuster – or until 67 senators rose up to stop it: a move called cloture. And the Senate could conduct no other business while the filibuster was under way.

[…] New rules made the filibuster easier to use, but more open to abuse.

[…] And in 1975, the Senate voted to lower the required number of votes needed to end a filibuster from 67 to 60. Ever since then, use of the filibuster has grown steadily from an average once a year in the ’50s, to more than 55 a year in the ’90s. In 2007, the Republican minority invoked the filibuster 112 times, double the number called by Democrats when they were in the minority. In 2008, Republicans upped its use to 139 times.

Us working stiffs, must face a different metric of accomplishments.

aka   Merit,  Results,  Productivity!    

We either have to get stuff done, or face the brutal realities, of pounding the pavement, day in and day out, in the merciless search for Jobs.that.are.Not.There.

Merit pay


Merit pay is a term describing performance-related pay, most frequently in the context of educational reform. It provides bonuses for workers who perform their jobs effectively, according to measurable criteria. In the United States, policy makers are divided on whether merit pay should be offered to public school teachers, as is commonly the case in the United Kingdom.

What IF Congressional Pay was based on Merit — like average folks’ salary haggling usually are —

Imagine IF Congress ONLY got paid — IF and when … a Bill actually passed —

Would they be so anxious to take Month Long vacations, if their Next Paycheck depended on RESULTS — instead of Rhetoric?

If only Congress persons had to “Walk a mile, in OUR Work Shoes” —

Maybe THEN they actually start listening to the People, and break through that perpetual logjam of Inaction, and Election Cycles.

Well People, the good thing about their VC time, this time of year …

IS that it puts them with shouting range of their hard-working constituents.

Mark your local Townhall Calendars!


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on August 8, 2010 at 23:26

    Those are still Free …

    aren’t they?

  1. great essay, Jamess… From the title, I was looking for the metaphor to Teachers/Education though, being fired or getting merit pay based on absurd test scores of their students. 😉

  2. since they run almost everything else, most members of congress receive bonuses that would turn the hedge fund managers green with envy.

    Although gridlock and paralysis are the norm when it comes down to doing something that would help the bottom 99% income-wise, when the corporate johns want their primal desires gratified, the members of Congress cannot seem to drop to their knees or lie down quickly enough.

    According to one of the many available online inflation calculators, the $10,000 annual xongressional salary in 1947, if it tracked the inflation rate, would have been $95,018.18 in 2009, just a tad bit shy of the prevailing $174,000 annual compensatio rate. This does even begin to cover the many expensive additional perks they are provided. Hmmm…as they say, nice work if you can get it.

    By another measure, taking a 50-year span, say, from 1956 to 2006, the nominal minimum wage rose from $1.00/hour to $5.15/hour, while congressional pay grew from $22,500/year to $165,200/year. If congressional pay over this period had, alternatively, been multiplied by a factor of 5.15, as was the minimum wage, their annual salary would have been $115,875/year, just about $50,000/year less.

    If nation-wide initiatives were possible (granted, we would also witness an avalanche of extremely bad measures as well), it would be gratifying to pass a law mandating that any increases in congressional pay be structured to NOT EXCEED the inflation rate or the federal minimum wage.

    Only in a perfect world.

    • RUKind on August 9, 2010 at 02:59

    Same goes for all political appointees to cabinet agencies.

    Same goes for all state legislators and appointees.

    Same goes for all city legislators and appointed employees.

    Give them all a golden shovel and make them put it where the sun don’t shine. Blade end first.

  3. And that Sabanes-Oxley compliance bullshit which so debilitated American based companies over the government subsidized European/Asian/Chinese carbon exempt let the green toxic ooze seep into the river 86 cents an hour free trade globalist asshole CEO put invest your 401K in “emerging” markets to build third world sweatshops free fucking trade globalist asshole motherfucker billionarire eugenics advocate Bill Gates………….

    Sorry I did sort of loose all coherent thought there.

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