- Raising the retirement age to 69
- Increase taxes by up to $1,700 a year for the average tax payer
- 15% budget decrease for Congress and the White House
- 3 year pay freeze for members of Congress
For the plan to be adopted, a super majority of 14 of the 18 members must vote for it. That now appears to be out of reach as Greg Sargent reports:
Former top labor leader Andy Stern has privately informed deficit-commission co-chair Erskine Bowles that he will vote against the commission’s package of proposals, a source close to Stern tells me, effectively ending hopes of getting the desired 14 members to support it.
Stern is the fifth of 18 commission members to decide against backing the commission’s proposals. While it has long seemed unlikely that the proposals, which are filled with controversial spending cuts, would get the needed supermajority in tomorrow’s vote, his opposition appears to officially put this out of reach.
Stern is joined by Dem. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Dem. Sen. Max Baucus, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and GOP Rep. Dave Camp in opposition to the plan.
Looking at the recommendations I listed above, the only two I could personally get behind are the final items. Congress especially needs to see some cuts. You ever watch CSpan and notice all those big, colorful charts the members use when talking? I wonder how much they spend on those alone. Why can’t Congress invest in some large screens and go to Power Point presentations for everything? And does each member of Congress really need these huge staffs? It used to be that Congress was like a big corporation. Now it’s gotten to the point that each member of Congress is like their own giant corporation.
I’m also sure a lot of those cost-cutting savings could be passed onto the federal government. Modernization should be a big key here. Take printing alone. I’ve been searching for awhile this morning to see how much Congress and the federal government spend on just printing. I’m sure a lot of that could be removed if we would just invoke technology and move to things like e-Readers and portable document formats.
As far as the three year pay freeze for members of Congress, maybe it’s time to change how Congress does get paid. Currently members of Congress get paid $174,000 a year. Party leaders get $193,400 and the Speaker of the House gets a whopping $223,500 a year. These are obscene salaries that should not only be frozen, but also cut. People shouldn’t go to Congress to get rich; they should go to Congress to serve their country. If they are to get raises then it should be based on performance, not their own desires. If our national debt increases in a year then their salary should decrease. If they decrease the debt, then let’s go ahead and give them a raise. Make the salaries of our elected leaders performance based, not greed based. And really, should the elected officials get a raise while the regular federal employees are on a pay freeze? I think not.
In the end, the Debt Commission is going to prove to be a gigantic waste of time. The cuts that need to be made are the cuts that no one in Congress wants to hear about because it effects their own pocketbooks and how they operate.