I understand if you’re revolted by the headline.
After all, those who serve in Congress don’t exactly have a great reputation. Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or independent, there are many reasons to be dissatisfied with those who represent us.
The question is, how do we make things better?
I believe increasing our politicians' salaries would improve things.
I recognize that the $174,000 our 100 Senators and 435 Representatives earn each year is a great wage. Certainly, it's far higher than what most of us earn.
But $174,000 is significantly lower than what most private sector executives take home each year. Indeed, it’s less than what a lot of senior nonexecutives make each year. And Washington is one of the nation's most expensive cities.
This matters if we want to attract the best and the brightest to enter the highest levels of public service.
The issue here isn’t so much that our politicians are paid poorly, but rather that their salaries are not commensurate with the costs of serving in Congress in 2017. Consider, for example, the intense public attention on family life, the need for relentless fundraising, the vitriol received, and the greater measure of personal risk.
In an ideal world, thousands of Americans would be desperate to run for office in the sole motivation of national service. But this isn't an ideal world and when it comes down to it, too many Americans view the costs of running for office as too great.
Don't believe me? Then why do so many congressional primaries have so few quality candidates?
In turn, I believe that raising the annual congressional salary to $225,000 a year would be a good step forwards. At an additional $27.3 million a year, it would represent a small price to pay for a greater chance of better lawmakers.
Ultimately, we have a simple choice to make.
Do we want to get more talent into the House and Senate, or not?
If we do, we should pay our politicians more.