Damned if you do; damned if you don't

Before Christmas, I wrote about the pay raise that Congress automatically gets each year .

I think most folks would generally say Congress already makes enough money; but, even if you think our Washington official DID deserve a raise, shouldn’t those officials vote on it instead of it being automatic?

Well, that’s just silly talk, people (tongue in cheek, if not obvious here). What politician would ever publically vote for a pay raise? Try Pennsylvania elected officials in 2005 ….if you call voting at 2:00 a.m. being public.

I’m not gonna beat a dead horse but SC saw this attempt last year on a voice vote when a Cost of Living Adjustment for elected officials’ retirement about passed . THAT is what got us to where we are today pushing for a LAW for on-the-record voting (roll call votes). Don’t get me started again on how a few of us ( list of cosponsors here ) are still having to push to get this done.

Well, in the irony of ironies, our own US Congressman Gresham Barrett has actually done the right thing and IS CATCHING GRIEF FOR IT!

First, he actually filed a bill earlier this year to stop the automatic pay increases and THEN he has agreed to donate this year’s increase to a local charity.

I applaud him for that but, as I’ve even experienced with my desire to continue returning my legislative salary, even doing the right thing gets some people mad at you and have them question your motives.

A few posters on The State’s website apparently don’t think Congressman Barrett has done enough. A local blog even has called him out too.

I know, you gotta ask HOW can he catch grief for this? I know firsthand because before my 2006 election campaign I had an anonymous email asking me if I had indeed delivered on my 2004 campaign pledge to donate my legislative salary to worthy causes. (I had followed through and didn’t “publicize it” because I felt who would even question that; but this person wanted proof and so I shared some of the causes.) I never intended to continue to donate my legislative salary every year but have done so the past four years. During this time I’ve even been criticized for not giving scholarships to other in-state colleges instead of the ones I’ve chosen. Quite simply, the scholarships I’ve given (and still to this day continue) are for schools where my deceased relatives attended or had ties.

I guess what I’m getting at is this: Has politics gotten so bad that when folks actually do the right thing, their opponents or critics attack them? Attack them for giving back money to the community they serve?

Apparently so.