Has anyone stopped to think about what we pay our "public servants" these days? When I say public servant I am referring to elected officials at any level. From your City Council member, through County Commissioners Court, on up to State and National representatives.
Once upon a time these various elective offices were considered to be a way of serving the public good, and they all were - and should still be - part time positions. That is part of way they are considered to be public service. You know, busy people taking time out of their busy lives to help the common good. Right? I mean, it is obvious that members of Congress only work a small portion of the time. Actually, they all spend more time campaigning for their next election that they do performing the duties of the offices to which they were elected!
And, guess what? Our current situation is not the way it was supposed to be! Our founding fathers were not looking to create a new profession, that of political office holders! The idea was for a few folks to devote some time to the public good, and then to return to their private lives. And, let some other person serve a term. Constant turnover would be good for the country! Certainly better than the same old, same old of today.
Now, commensurate with this idea of short term service, for the common good, was the idea that those who were elected to public office might be reimbursed for their costs of travel to and from the place where they worked together for that common good, and maybe a reasonable stipend for their time.
Unfortunately, all we have ended up with is a new outlet for one of the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins, greed. Here in El Paso, Texas, our County Commissioners just voted themselves a hefty pay raise, citing - if you can believe this - the huge responsibility of managing our large county budget as being a requirement that they be paid - for their part time positions - an annual salary that is more than double the median income of this poor county!
We really need to think about initiating term limits on every elective office, across the nation. If it is good enough for the office of President, it should certainly be good enough for the folks on City Council. Two terms, and you're out! And, since these are ALL part time jobs, the salaries need to be commensurate with the amount of work actually done. Likewise, since these are part time positions, there should be no employee benefits provided, although perhaps health care under medicare or medicaid might be appropriate while in office. Naturally, reasonable reimbursement for necessary travel and/or lodging should be available. But, no more salary and benefit packages as if these were full time employees. And, only the President should be entitled to any lifetime benefits.
I suspect that this would save a ton of taxpayer dollars. Or, maybe we just need to find us a Cincinnatus?