How Much Should We Pay Elected Officials?

The President of the United States is paid $400,000 per year.

Most Congresspeople are paid $174,000 per year; the Speaker of the House makes $223,500.

This puts our national elected officials squarely in the top 5% of income earners, and the President is a “One-Percenter.” About $100M is spent on Congressional salary every year.

Does this feel like too much, or not enough?

Often people from both sides of the aisle bemoan how much congresspeople make. Maybe it puts them out of touch; maybe it means congress is able to compete with the market for talent and experience.

Both sides often cite another problem with Congress: monetary kickbacks from lobbyists and other interest groups.

Something to consider: if we reduced Congressional pay, might that make those kickbacks from lobbyists more alluring?

Might we consider paying Congress more in order to make them less interested in private money? What if they were paid $1M/year? How about $5M? What might the consequences be for the behavior of politicians? Might it have a positive impact on the influence of lobbying and graft, or would it be a waste of money? Could it be offset by reductions in pork-barrel spending, or perhaps by an economy made stronger by better regulations?

What do you think Congresspeople and the President should be paid? Drop a comment with your thoughts.

Are your views different from your friends or other acquaintances?  Why do you think this is? What do you agree on?


Erik Fogg

We do politics, but we don't do the thinking for you.