Monday, July 10, 2006

Holding Congress Accountable

The latest Democracy Corps strategy memo lists four elements that Democrats should consider. The first
Demonstrate that Democratic candidates and Democrats in general are the outsiders demanding change. They need to be as much for change as the voters. In this survey, there is nothing as powerful as the commitment:
No pay raise for members of Congress until the incomes of average Americans starts to rise again.
Three-quarters found this reassuring, including 56 percent very reassuring –10 points stronger than anything else considered. That says Democrats are the outsiders challenging Washington and are concerned with the incomes of ordinary Americans (the same commitment linked to minimum wage is also strong, though less so).

This position on the pay raise and voters’ income re-enforces our main message below – making the economy and America work for everyone.
I'd go further and tie all future pay raises to the rate increase of the median income. I don't think it's possible, but I'd be willing to entertain the idea of decreasing Congressional salaries if median income decreases at any point. If we want Congress to work for the people, we should have them be accountable.

What a concept, accountable lawmakers. In an era where money can take even a bumbling incompetent to power, we need institutional rules to counteract the lack of accountability. I've already mentioned another way to hold lawmakers accountable. Maybe I should come up with an equation...


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