Saturday, 29 December 2007

" ... MPs demand inflation-busting 10% pay rise"

A reader's letter in The Times explained how the US Constitution deals with the problem of politicians voting themselves huge pay rises.

"Sir, Pay rises for MPs (letters, Dec 27) would be more publicly acceptable if Parliament were to follow the procedure enjoined in the 27th Amendment to the US Constitution, which simply states that “No law varying the compensation for the services of Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened”. MPs who voted a pay rise for the succeeding Parliament and personally benefited would then be answerable to the electorate, John Kentleton, School of History, University of Liverpool"


Newmania said...

Without wishing to be overly contrarian because I like this busy blog that is a load of crap.


It is infinitely harder to become an MP than a Doctor and yet they are paid a fraction of the amount. They may well have no job at all next year and sacrifice years of earnings on just the possibility of the position. When Brown nose Dacre of the Mail spoke to Blair one earnt about £120,000 the other millions . That is wrong for all that I loathed Blair. It positively invited the sort of soft corruption of Blairs latter period .The result of this is that only those sponsored by the Unions , public sector troughs or with personal wealth can apply and this is nopt only very wrong indeed but explains a great deal about the way the poltical elite have seperated from the voter . You notice this over issues like Europe , Crime /Rehabilitation and immigration where the majority view is ignored.( In the case of Europe the majority havng been kept in ignorance have no view)

There should be fewer MPs paid more and the senior ones should be paid a lot more . How can we skimp on democracy when the regional development boards piss £2.5 billion up the wall every year and £5000 per household disappears to Brussels ....well I could go on and on about more worthy targets for the puritan zeal.

Lose regional government , lose MEPs lose 25% of MPs and 75% in Scotland and Wales and reward our representatives.

The way Parlaiment has been reduced to a high profile church with a competition to take no holiday and be miserable is all hypocritical cant anyway and encourages the sort of sterile pontificating the earnest Livingstones of the world adore.

I think you make the easy point bu not the right one tempting though it may be and I `m suprised that you should resent rewarding success which sends the wrong message in itself....

Anonymous said...

And now I understand why American politics has evolved in a direction that means that incumbents are rarely defeated.

Mark Wadsworth said...

N, I was merely stating one possible solution, and while I agree with most of what you say, you haven't come up with any arguments to say that the US rule is unfair or wouldn't work.

D, please explain. If this is the unintended consequence of the rule, then either the rule needs tweaking or it is a bad rule.

Mrs Smallprint said...

Hi Mark

This is off topic, glad to know I have a fellow Accountant out there who thinks this Government is barmy. There constant on off on tinkering has driven us to dispair in deepest darkest Somerset small business land.

Anonymous said...

Why not link any pay deal to reductions in the tax system and/or genuine efficiency savings?

Anonymous said...

Half in jest, but it is (I gather) rare for incumbents to lose their seats in the US House or Senate, so most politicians who vote for a pay rise will in fact benefit from it. Term limits for the House and Senate might help. They might be a good thing anyway. But not much hope of that unless (bright idea!?) any Rep or Senator reaching his term limit were given a large tax-free handout as a farewell gift. That might get the buggers to vote for such a law.

chris said...

Currently there are many more applicants to become MPs than there are positions for them. If anything that means that the amount that they are paid should fall until the optimum level is reached.

flashgordonnz said...

Yes, life as an MP should be about public service. Not a carreer option. If it were a carreer option, then it should be along the lines of a Board of Directors: they answer to the shareholders every year an AGM time. Not every five years.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Actually, the real question is, how much should MP's be doing? As little as possible in my book. In which case, Chris' and FG's stacks up best.

Newmania said...

If there is any sort of English votes , with Holyrood in situ Scottish MP`s will have virtually nothing to do.

Scott Freeman said...

"It is infinitely harder to become an MP than a Doctor and yet they are paid a fraction of the amount."

Workers are not and should not be paid on the basis of how "hard" it is to join their profession, but on the basis of the supply and demand for workers. Chris has the right of it.

"And now I understand why American politics has evolved in a direction that means that incumbents are rarely defeated."

Why should that be the cause? They already have a huge incentive to get re-elected in the form of their existing pay, the power and prestige of office, the financial gains from what is essentially corruption, though rarely called such in polite conversation.

I would support a constitution (in Britain, the United States, or wherever I or any other freedom loving people happen to live) that required members of government to donate a great amount of their wealth to the government (though they could always donate it to charity or give it away beforehand) when taking office* and that would prohibit them from gaining incomes above a certain level. Allowing great economic and political power to coexist in one man would be generally unwise. I would also support limiting government so severely that the vast majority of firms and other special interests have no incentive to fund politicians or to lobby them or to bribe them or otherwise engage in corruption with them.

*Perhaps the full sum would be taken at first and if they stayed in office until their death the full sum would remain taken. However, if they stayed in office only for a single year a percentage might be returned, and a smaller percentage the longer they were in office. There would also be some system to deal with politicians who leave and then return to office.