Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! News broke yesterday that most of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation awarded “bonuses” or as Tom Petri’s (R-6) staffer calls them, “deferred payments,” to their staffers. According to the news stories, it’s a “use-it-or-lose-it” situation. Only Feingold and Obey have long-standing policies of not giving bonuses.
“U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Gwen Moore, D-Wis., Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Tom Petri, R-Wis., increased payrolls by more than 20 percent. Petri spent over $100,000 on bonuses and raised salaries by as much as $14,000 per staffer….”
Several of our Wisconsin delegation had railed on the AIG bonuses, and now they are giving their own staff members “bonuses.” Of course, the amount of the bonuses differs tremendously! No 6 and 7-figure bonuses for the staffers, to be sure–but some did get 5-figure add-ons.
Obviously, these bonuses look bad, likely anytime, but especially now. However, if the lawmakers have to give back any money they have left at the end of the year, do we really want that–given how this administration spends taxpayer money? At least by giving bonuses, they are investing directly in their people. But then, should government employees get a bonus when the people paying those bonuses are struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes? Reports show that most Wisconsin citizens didn’t know that bonuses are pretty routinely given in many of the congressional offices. Wonder what else we don’t know?
Government officials shouldn’t be put in these situations–to spend or give back (but not to the taxpayers!) taxpayer money. The system does little to reward offices that are well run; and it certainly, as always, abuses the taxpayer. I’ve never been a fan of “spend it or lose it” at any level of government. This congressional revelation confirms my opinion. Another great example of what you don’t know is–costing you.