Alvin Bessent joined the Newsday editorial board in 1993. He writes about national government policy and politics.
We should pay members of Congress the minimum wage. That’s about what the current, do-nothing Congress is worth.
So far this year, the House of Representatives has been in session 104 days, the Senate 103 days. That’s about 15 work days a month, most of it spent blaming the other party for getting nothing done — for instance, on legislation to raise the minimum wage.
Based on value returned to their employer — which is us — the $7.25 federal minimum wage seems about right.
Generously assume lawmakers worked a full eight hours each day Congress was in session and they would have pulled down $58 a day, before taxes. That’s a considerably less than the $669.23 a day they actually rake in when their $174,000 yearly salary is prorated over eight hours a day , five days a week and 52 weeks a year.
Many members of Congress are millionaires. They may not need the money. But watching that meager amount trickling into their bank accounts might help them to see the plight of the low-wage workers they represent a bit differently.