Why have we allowed the personal spending of our government leaders to get out of control? It is really in the best interests of legislators to always keep their base salaries as low as they can. This is because those incomes are taxed. Their expense accounts are not, however. These legislators make it seem like they are underpaid for the work that they perform. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.
What is reported by our members of Congress as an expense in some category might actually be used in another way. They can make use of this tax-free money for almost anything they want. These kinds of expense accounts could be used for things like vacations and condos in exotic places or second home purchases for all we know.
The money is appropriated into funds in dollar quantities much larger than what is actually being expended. A total of over $42 million was appropriated for use in the individual expense accounts of our Senators for 2010. They used $400,590,512.37 of this for the personal and office expenses. This represents an average of $4,005,905 per Senator that year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee appropriates this money to their very own expense accounts! The remaining Revolving Fund Balance for all these particular Senate appropriations was at $81,448,251.53 at the end of 2010! By law, these funds have got to stay in those accounts or be moved to other legally appropriated funds.
Why is so much money being designated for these kinds of trivial things that could have come out of their own pockets? These funds are removed from the general use taxpayer fund, which could be helpful to offset some other taxes on us. Listed below are examples of some of these trivial expense categories.
Some Itemized Personal and Office Expenses for Senators for 2010
( Total Used That Year / Remaining Revolving Fund Balance / Average Use Per Senator )
“Hair Care Fund” – $33,387 / $261,117.19 / $333.87
“Restaurant Fund” – $72,370.12 / $49,859.53 / $723.70
“Health And Fitness Facility” – $123,856.74 / $256,380.37 / $1,238.57
“Official Mail Costs” – $115,546.71 + ($161,082.59 “used for other transactions”) / $368,801.28 / $2,766.29
“Gift Shop Fund” – $166,673.26 / $2,939,413.53 / $1,666.73
“Photographic Studio Revolving Fund” – $65,915.24 / $798,690.53 / $659.15
“Recording Studio Revolving Fund” – $22,722.52 / $1,945,771.10 / $227.22
“Contingent Expenses, Stationery (paper), Revolving Fund” – $298,821.41 / $1,078,465.74 / $2988.21
The remaining Revolving Fund Balance in each category (which is the middle figure listed above) collects interest every year which increases the total available for the next year. Surely, this could be used in a better way.
Other interesting expense categories (with each Senator’s take) not listed above include these things:
“Contingent Expenses, Expenses Of Inquiries And Investigations” – $1,257,802
“Contingent Expenses, Miscellaneous Items” – $135,249.22
“Compensation Of Members And Related Administrative Expenses” – $207,081.64
“Contingent Expenses, Secretary Of The Senate” – $7,565.08
“Contingent Expenses, Sergeant At Arms And Doorkeeper Of The Senate” – $907,194.32
“Settlements And Awards Reserve, Contingent Expenses” – $10,000
“Congressional Use Of Foreign Currency” – $44,164
“Senate Office Of Public Records, Revolving Fund, Senate” – $229
“Daniel Webster Senate Page Resident Revolving Fund, Senate” – $411.73
“Salaries And Expenses, Office Of The Legislative Counsel Of The Senate” – $63,940.41
“Salaries, Officers And Employees, Senate” – $1,500,175
“Salaries And Expenses, Office Of Senate Legal Counsel, Senate” – $10,507.22
“Payment To Widows And Heirs Of Deceased Members Of Congress, Senate” – $1740.00
Granted, some of this money is actually used for categorized expenses, but most likely not all of it. With the vagueness of these categories and the optional distribution of their funds, a Senator can pretty much set whatever they want their tax-free portion of income to be. The average taxable salary for a Senator in 2013 is $174,000. The ACTUAL average income of Senators would much higher than this, if you took into account their appropriated discretionary spending allowance.
Other Personal Abuses
Roughly fifty percent of the membership of Congress are millionaires. So, how are they getting all of their wealth? Quite a few have a net worth of over $100 million. Insider trading is 100% legalized for members of Congress, and they refuse to pass a law which would correct that.
Almost half a million employees of the federal government are making over $100,000 per year. In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year. Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do. There are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do. Close to 15,000 retired federal employees are currently collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually.
Even while most of America is suffering through one the toughest economic downturns in U.S. history, the President and his family are living the high life at our expense. U.S. taxpayers are actually spending over 1.4 billion dollars a year on the President and his family members alone. On the other hand, British taxpayers only spend approximately 58 million dollars a year on the whole royal family. Most of their family vacation trips alone cost taxpayers more than a number of American wage earners can make in an entire decade.
The 2013 taxable salary for the President of the United States is $400,000 (up from $200,000 in 2000). He has a yearly individual expense allowance of $50,000. That is very interesting, since we are now seeing that the President and his family are having a vacation to Hawaii or other exotic places throughout the world roughly every month. The payment for these trips is coming out of the taxpayers pockets.
Every time his family travels, they don’t journey unattended, though. They also need to accommodate a group of other staff members as well as members of the media. This also adds up to even more billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money in a year’s time.
When a President retires, they are well taken care of as well. In 2013, 3.7 million dollars will be spent to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
The spending habits and priorities of our government leaders are completely out of control. Yet, they are all certainly concerned about controlling and increasing taxes on all of us, aren’t they? This is definitely looking a lot like a tyrannical state of affairs in this nation. Their love of money (which is the root of all evil) is what is bringing this great nation down.
We need to take control of the affairs of this nation before it is too late. If we could even just cut back on our government’s spending habits alone, we could lower our national debt more quickly. They want to cut back our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, but the real cuts should start with their own spending habits.
The only thing that will change the direction we are heading financially as a country is a change in the moral priorities of our leaders. We are the ones who must demand this control upon them. They are supposed to represent our best interests. If they don’t, then we must take them out of office and make critical changes in how things are being done in Washington D.C.. Maybe then we will be able to restore the liberty and freedom in this country.
UPDATE: (4/17/2013) Obama Quietly Passed Law Making Insider Trading Easier for US Politicians.
On the lighter side: 🙂 If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
I wish you the best of “believing” in all of your future endeavors,
ROB – (admin)
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