How to pay politicians

Author: Alec ,

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  • Alec
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    I think they should get paid on the basis of how well their constituents are doing to encourage them to help out their people.
  • Swagnarok
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    --> @Alec
    No, because this will encourage zero-sum game thinking in Congress. Each Senator and Representative would be angling to secure goodies for their constituents, screw the wellbeing of the country at large.
  • Snoopy
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    --> @Alec
    Congress should be pegged to the median salary
  • Alec
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    --> @Snoopy
    Maybe triple the mean salary of Americans.  I doubt they would be able to prioritize too much money to their states.
  • Snoopy
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    --> @Alec
    I don't mean the average, but the salary of the Average citizen. Either way they can be paid both for their term, and one term after their service, with excellent retirement benefits.
  • Alec
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    --> @Snoopy
    I think the mean is better then the median.  We measure success in GDP per capita largely and that's the mean.

  • Ramshutu
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    Pay them in relation to their fulfillment of campaign promises and pledges.
  • dustryder
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    --> @Alec
    It's not about better or worse. It's about suitability on sets of data and which is best representative of the "average case" of that data set. Medians are tolerant of data sets that are abnormally skewed towards either end however means are not. Because a large proportion of wealth (and income) is gathered towards a minority of Americans, the median is better suited in this case.

    For example, if there were a million people who had 1 dollar and 1 person who had 1 billion dollars, the mean would be 1000 while the median would be 1. Obviously, the mean is not representative of an average point in this data set in this case while the median is.
  • Alec
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    --> @dustryder
    I know the difference between median and mean.  I think it should be the mean that determines the salary because $1 billion even for one person is a lot of money, so that should be factored in.  However, politicians deserve more then the median or the mean.  They should get a multiple of this.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Alec
    Politicians don't generate their wealth from salaries.
  • Alec
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    --> @Greyparrot
    The government pays politicians for their work.  I don't know what this is called.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Alec
    Politicians make their wealth mostly from speeches, lobbyists, and book deals. None of the Senators, especially the richest of them, in the Congress made their millions from a salary. Others use insider trading by leveraging economic regulations against wall street.

    The median net worth of a senator is around $3.2 million. For representatives, it is $900,000.
    Obama went from 1 million to 40 million net worth over 8 years in the white house.

    The salary of a Congressperson is around $180,000 a year. Considering even the most frugal of people consume at least half of their salary in living expenses, that salary in no way accounts for the wealth of the people in Congress.


  • dustryder
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    --> @Alec
    It just depends what you're trying to do. When you take a mean, median or mode of a sample, what you are typically trying to do is to extract a meaningful average representation of that sample. A mean in this case doesn't really do a good job at representing average wealth salary so to use that number seems kind of arbitrary
  • Stronn
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    --> @Alec
    If I were a politician who got paid based on the income of constituents, what is to prevent me from deficit-spending for government jobs that don't contribute anything to society?
  • Alec
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    --> @Stronn
    what is to prevent me from deficit-spending for government jobs that don't contribute anything to society?
    What is deficit spending?  If a job doesn't contribute to society, it shouldn't exist.
  • Stronn
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    --> @Alec
    Deficit spending is where government spends more money than it receives. It's why the U.S. currently has a 22 trillion dollar debt.

    If I were a politician paid based on the average income of the population, I would have incentive to make the government spend more to raise people's incomes. Heck, all it would take is to triple the pay of government employees.