In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Sunday, July 21, 2024

Eric Cantor, other Republicans: Major hypocrites when it comes to spending

Eric Cantor: His llips are moving so he must be lying (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

For a guy who insists that federal bureaucrats make too much money, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sure doesn’t mind handing out handsome government raises of his own.

Cantor, the Virginia Republican who has led the GOP charge this year to freeze federal salaries, has boosted his congressional office’s payroll by 81 percent since coming to Congress in 2001 — about 8 percent per year through 2009. When he became minority whip last year, the office’s personnel expenses went up by at least 16 percent.

Cantor and other GOP leaders are now pledging to cut their budgets by 5 percent when they take over the House in January — a symbolic gesture aimed at showing a commitment to slowing Washington spending. But the lawmakers suddenly calling for wage cuts often haven’t practiced what they’re preaching.

Overall, congressional payroll expenses have climbed much faster than the civilian federal work force costs that lawmakers are now clamoring to freeze. Many of the most vocal federal critics have overseen growth that rivals or outstrips the executive branch’s, according to data from Legistorm, a website that tracks congressional salaries. For example:

• Firebrand Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has for months pushed legislation to freeze what she calls “unconscionable” federal salaries. Meanwhile, her own payroll jumped 16 percent between 2007, when she came to Congress, and 2009.

• Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican set to chair the House subcommittee overseeing the federal work force, says Washington must “figure out how to do more with less.” But the freshman lawmaker gave his own employees an average raise of about 9 percent this year.

• Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has long criticized federal pay, has overseen an average jump of 8 percent per year in his office employee costs between 2006, his first full year in the Senate, and 2009.

The lawmakers offered various explanations for their rising costs, with many saying they were simply going along with the budget allowances that Congress sets each year for its members. Some said they were working to hire the best staffs they could to serve their districts or had new demands such as the need to hire a social media coordinator.

Chaffetz and Coburn emphasized that while they may have spent more on salaries, they still came in well under the overall budget for House and Senate expenditures.

“What’s important to me is that we drive the overall number down,” he said.

Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said his boss deserves credit for recognizing the issue now and working to address it.

“The new Republican majority will cut spending, and Eric believes that effort starts with his team,” Dayspring said.

The issue of federal salaries came to a head last month when President Barack Obama took a page from the Republican playbook and proposed freezing civilian federal wages for two years. Cantor and other Republicans had offered similar plans earlier in the year that were widely panned by Democrats.

Conservatives argue correctly that federal payrolls have outstripped the private sector’s in recent years. Total U.S. private personnel costs rose just 25 percent from 2001 to 2009, compared with 39 percent for the civilian federal workforce’s.

But the comparison doesn’t account for the explosion in federal homeland security hiring that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that has helped fuel the federal increase. And even with that jump, the number of federal employees has fallen over the past 20 years from 1 for every 110 residents in 1988 to 1 for every 155 residents in 2008, according to the latest federal budget.

While studies show that the federal work force overall earns a higher average salary, that’s because the government has more professional employees than the private work force, which includes a heavy contingent of lower-paid service employees such as fast-food workers and hotel housekeepers.

When similar high-skill jobs in the public and private sectors are compared — engineers, physicians or scientists, for example — the government workers generally make less than their private-sector counterparts. A 2002 study by the Congressional Budget office found that for 85 percent of federal professional and administrative personnel, their pay was more than 20 percent below private salaries.

Meanwhile, congressional payroll costs have climbed at a far faster pace than either the federal government’s or the private sector’s.

Between 2001 and 2009, Congress boosted its personnel costs by 51 percent, according to Legistorm, increasing it steadily under both Democratic and Republican leadership.

A recent House survey found that lawmakers doled out merit raises averaging nearly 6 percent in 2008. Most of them also gave cost-of-living adjustments of 3 or 4 percent, and one-time bonuses averaging several thousand dollars, the survey found. Most federal workers get raises of 3 or 4 percent per year.

Colleen M. Kelley, head of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the congressional practice shows that lawmakers understand they need competitive salaries to get good employees.

“The federal government needs to be able to hire and keep talented and skilled employees, and worsening federal pay will make that much more difficult,” she said.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

Enhanced by Zemanta

7 thoughts on “Eric Cantor, other Republicans: Major hypocrites when it comes to spending”

  1. Eric Cantor is a hypocrite when it comes to being an American.
    He’s been elected to office in the wrong country.

    Someone had to say it…..

    (From the Article) “But the comparison doesn’t account for the explosion in federal homeland security hiring that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that has helped fuel the federal increase.”

    Well on a positive note:
    Happy Holidays to all on CHB! (If you can manage to afford it)
    Be safe and stay warm.

  2. Twilight ? I’m looking right now at pragmatism and eclipse, too much of a puss to telescope, naked eye observatory.
    Watch that loin cloth in front of the live goats.

    Pop used to say, make sure your toes get cold before your heart,
    don’t bend over in front of the sheep,
    and let the clutch out easy. Llamraf..

  3. In late life Bryan I’ve converted to raw paganism and I simply engage in the ritual of beating drums, sacrificing goats and gazing at the Moon to welcome in the solstice; ie., the death of the old and the birth of the new. I’m keeping it simple in my twilight years. : ))

    The Seasons Greeting to you and yours my “friend in thought”.

    Your thoughts run deep as mine too. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    Astronomical alert: Lunar eclipse into the early morning.

  4. “Meanwhile, congressional payroll costs have climbed at a far faster pace than either the federal government’s or the private sector’s.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  5. Which devil unfolding but man himself pose these uplifting images of spiced Wassel ,
    yea, yule tide demagoguery..

    For you Carl, Merry what ever you do this time of year. BM.

  6. Most private sector employees received no raise, were forced to give back benefits, or have simply been laid off since 2006. How hard is it to find professionals when many of the 99’ers are such professionals?

    Ah well, it’s an AP article which tends to cheer for Federal government. I guess it’s no wonder they cite the same things the corrupt bankers cite when defending outrageous bonuses.

    • What should we expect from these ‘elected’ spawn of the devil? They only excel in talking out of both sides of their collective mouths…no?

      You have to watch keenly as to what they do and not to what they say. / : |

      Carl Nemo **==

Comments are closed.