Perhaps watching Taylor Swift’s latest music video convinced the Republicans of a great idea — go back to the good ol’ days of December. No, not December 2010. Rather, a glorious December… a December before before Barack H. Obama was President of the United States: December 2008. By restoring December 2008 spending levels, the GOP says it can save the American people billions of dollars.
It is clear that government spending needs to be reduced. The American people want to see the deficit reduced, but have also rejected tax hikes as a means of reducing the deficit. The government has two choices: (1) increase its revenue without tax hikes using supply-side economic concepts; or (2) cut spending. Recently, President Obama has suggested the idea #1, and the GOP took back the House of Representatives on promises to implement idea #2. There’s a third option — combine #1 and #2 to increase revenue and cut spending, providing greater ability to reduce the deficit.
The perfect place to start on reducing spending is with Congress’ salaries. Members of Congress received $169,300 in base pay in 2008. However, Congress took a raise of $4,700 to $174,000 in base pay for 2009. While millions of Americans were facing unemployment and tough economic times, Congress members ended up with a raise of over 2.7%. If Congress wants to cut spending, they can roll back their paychecks to December 2008 levels. Perhaps members of Congress will have to make tough choices like many Americans, and cancel, or give up buying a new television, or downgrade from buying a luxury foreign car to a Ford Focus.
An even better idea, Congress should make itself more representative of the average American by passing legislation setting its salary equal to what the average American made the last year – roughly $51,000. This system would provide monetary incentive to members of Congress to create jobs, since people who are unemployed have lower income and bring down the average for the entire country.