You get what you pay for?

compiled & edited by Daniel Hagadorn

SOURCE: John Darkow

QUESTION: Considering Congress’ low approval ratings, lengthy criminal history, and profligate spending, are they actually worth their collective salaries?

The salary history of the U.S. Congress, 1789-2009[1]

  • In 1789, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were set at a $6 per diem or $75(2009 USD).
  • In 1815, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $1,500 or $17,340 (2009 USD).
  • In 1855, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $3,000 or $68,230 (2009 USD).
  • In 1865, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $5,000 or $72,380 (2009 USD).
  • In 1871, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $7,500 or $132,730 (2009 USD).
  • In 1874, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $5,000 or $93,740 (2009 USD).
  • In 1907, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $7,500 or $170,500 (2009 USD).
  • In 1925, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $10,000 or $121,360 (2009 USD).
  • In 1932, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $9,000 or $140,030 (2009 USD).
  • In 1933, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $8,500 or $139,360 (2009 USD).
  • In 1934, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $9,500 or $150,630 (2009 USD).
  • In 1935, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $10,000 or $154,700 (2009 USD).
  • In 1947, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $12,500 or $118,770 (2009 USD).
  • In 1955, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $22,500 or $178,260 (2009 USD).
  • In 1965, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $30,000 or $201,870 (2009 USD).
  • In 1969, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $42,500 or $245,920 (2009 USD).
  • In 1975, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $44,600 or $175,870 (2009 USD).
  • In 1977, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $57,500 or $201,220 (2009 USD).
  • In 1979, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $60,662.50 or $176,950 (2009 USD).
  • In 1982, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $69,800 or $153,140 (2009 USD).
  • In 1984, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $72,600 or $147,980 (2009 USD).
  • In 1985, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $75,100 or $147,760 (2009 USD).
  • In 1987, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $89,500 or $166,800 (2009 USD).
  • In 1990, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $96,600 or $156,570 (2009 USD) for Representatives and $98,400 or $159,480 (2009 USD) for Senators.
  • In 1991, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $125,100 or $194,580 (2009 USD).
  • In 1992, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $129,500 or $195,560 (2009 USD).
  • In 1993, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $133,600 or $195,880 (2009 USD).
  • In 1998, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $136,700 or $179,070 (2009 USD).
  • In 2000, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $141,300 or $174,300 (2009 USD).
  • In 2001, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $145,100 or $176,170 (2009 USD).
  • In 2002, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $150,000 or $177,850 (2009 USD).
  • In 2003, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $154,700 or $180,000 (2009 USD).
  • In 2004, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $158,100 or $178,080 (2009 USD).
  • In 2005, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $162,100 or $176,590 (2009 USD).
  • In 2006, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $165,200 or $175,570 (2009 USD).
  • In 2008, the annual salaries of the members of U.S. Congress were raised to $169,300 or $168,620 (2009 USD).
  • In 2009, the annual salaries of members of U.S. Congress were raised to $174,000, the Majority/Minority leaders to $193,400, and the Speaker of the House to $223,500.

Along with a generous salary, the U.S. Congress also enjoys the services of an ever-increasing sub-bureaucracy known as congressional staff members…[2]

  • In 1955, congressional staff members numbered 21,467 or an average of 40.12 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1960, congressional staff members numbered 22,517 or an average of 42.08 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1965, congressional staff members numbered 25,032 or an average of 46.78 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1970, congressional staff members numbered 29,811 or an average of 55.72 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1975, congressional staff members numbered 37,303 or an average of 69.72 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1980, congressional staff members numbered 38,700 or an average of 72.33 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1985, congressional staff members numbered 38,078 or an average of 71.17 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1990, congressional staff members numbered 36,738 or an average of 68.66 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 1995, congressional staff members numbered 32,059 or an average of 59.92 staffers per Congressman.
  • In 2000, congressional staff members numbered 29,991 or an average of 56.05 staffers per Congressman.

According to the Congressional Management Foundation, which alternately publishes bi-annual reports for both House and Senate personal offices, congressional staff members earn an annual salary of:[3]

For the U.S. House of Representatives…

  • Chiefs of staff = $97,615
  • Legislative directors = $61,075
  • Press secretaries = $45,301
  • Office managers = $44,009
  • Schedulers = $41,068
  • District schedulers = $34,143
  • District office representatives = $37,119
  • Legislative correspondents = $26,745
  • Receptionists = $24,959 to $23,849

For the U.S. Senate…

  • Chiefs of staff = $116,573
  • Legislative directors = $91,438
  • Press secretaries = $65,362 to $60,610
  • Office managers = $57,330
  • State office managers = $37,506
  • Schedulers = $44,148
  • State schedulers = $34,205
  • State office representatives = $29,980
  • Legislative correspondents = $25,226 to $23,226
  • Receptionists = $22,504 to $24,454

Data generated by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals the extent of the pay gap between federal and private workers as of 2008.

  • Federal payrolls have risen to $240 billion, with the average federal salary now at $119,982, compared to $59,909 for the average private sector employee.
  • Put another way, the entire salary of TWO average private sector workers are now required to pay for just one federal employee—EXCLUDING the cost of funding the federal workers’ pension and medical benefits.

[1] http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/97-1011.pdf.

[2] Harold C. Relyea, “Government at the Dawn of the 21st Century: A Status Report,” U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress (17 January 2001).

[3] http://www.c-span.org/questions/weekly35.asp; http://www.cmfweb.org/.

One Response

  1. I don’t always agree with your posts, but this was dead on, way to go!

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