We have had many wealthy presidents. How many however have given back some of their salaries in solidarity with the times. These are times when many are suffering. After-all, the sequester is in effect and while initially it began with a whimper, it is starting to have material effects on many Americans.
The New York Times is reporting that President Obama plans to return 5% of his salary.
[Source]The voluntary move would be retroactive to March 1, the official said, and apply through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in September. The White House came up with the 5 percent figure to approximate the level of spending cuts to nondefense federal agencies that took effect that day.
“The president has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the Treasury,” the official said.
Word of the president’s decision came a day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter disclosed that they would return a share of their salaries commensurate with the pay lost by the department’s civilian employees who are expected to be furloughed for 14 days before the end of the fiscal year.
The New Your Times also reports that Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska will also voluntarily give back part of his salary and half of his staff will have their pay cut.
Many politicians continue to preach austerity. They believe government is bloated and that government workers are overpaid. Yet congresspersons make $174,000 (the leaders make a bit more) for working less than a few days a month and generally accomplishing little. It is time for them to cut their wages to be in line with the percentage cuts they want. It is time for them to get paid only when they work and can show accomplishments. In Texas State Legislators are paid $7,200.00 per year and seem to get a lot more accomplished.
Will all those TEA Party Republican members give back part of their salaries? Will they attempt to conform their salaries consummate to the work they do in the private sector; middle management with many less working days? If they think we need austerity, Americans must force austerity to begin with them. One can bet they will all change their tunes then and only then. As is shown in the marriage equality debate when Rob Portman came out to support it because of his own gay son, they only respond when an issue or problem affects them directly; a severe lack of empathy.