Kingman Letter: Federal pay is out of hand

Presently, there are 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives who will be paid $174,000 a year. Even if they get voted out of office, retire, or quit, they will continue to receive this same amount for the rest of their lives. As of 2011, there were 425 former senators and congressmen still on the payroll who continue to receive $174,000 a year for the rest of their lives, not to mention that both present and former congressmen receive the best health care that you and I pay for.

The House of Representatives was scheduled to meet for only 123 days this year, which means they earned $1,400 a day for each day they actually worked (if you want to call what they do, or don't do, working). In addition to this, each House and Senate member receives $994,671 a year to pay their staffs' salaries. If each member of the House and Senate members were paid for only the days worked, they would receive roughly $477 a day - still not a bad salary for one day's work, and it would save taxpayers a whole bunch of money.

The president, and all living former presidents, receive $450,000 a year for life. The Speakers of the House (past and present) receive $223,500 for life. And the majority/minority leaders (past and present) receive $194,400 for life, plus all receive health care for life. I understand the president's salary - he is on the job 24/7, 365 days a year (yes, even when he's on vacation). And the members of Congress are the only "employees" who get to raise their own salaries by simply casting "yea" votes.

Our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan 365 days a year, risking limb and life, earn on average $38,000 a year. Yet some of those politicians earning their extravagant salaries and risking nothing voted against giving those deployed soldiers a raise, and voted against paying a higher death benefit to the families of fallen soldiers.

We absolutely need to cut our politicians' pay, pay them only for the days they are in session, cut former politicians' pay in half and let politicians help pay down our deficit for a change.

Lori Gabriel-Dane