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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Politician Compensation



I keep hearing that we need high salaries and benefits to attract quality candidates. This assumes that what we are getting are quality candidates and not pigs bellying up to the public trough. Political office is a temporary position and should be treated as such. Few temporary jobs grant benefits. If you are making over $100,000 a year, you don’t need benefits and certainly don’t deserve a pension beyond what you contribute to yourself. Are we electing people who want to work to make our lives better or CEOs wanting to be treated like royalty.  I have worked plenty of temporary jobs and have little sympathy with the idea that poor politicians have to reapply every four years. I don’t get a pension or any benefits when my job ends, and certainly not if I am fired, as those who are not re-elected are.  If politicians were treated as the civil servants they are supposed to be, they might have more sympathy for the average worker. Raised above it they only serve those who live like they do, the rich and corporations who fund them.  It’s a tough job, but no one forces them into it.  A high salary should be more than enough.  I certainly wouldn’t be looking for benefits and a publicly paid pension if I was making that much. They should get the same public pensions that we all get and not a penny more. That they have to give up jobs to run and may have to look for a new one after they get voted out is not my problem. After being in such a public position and networking with the most powerful people in the country, if they can’t find meaningful employment once they are back in the workforce, they don’t deserve it.  As it is, public office is mostly a way to secure corporate jobs once they are out of government. It shouldn’t be, but even the PM is just engaged in a four-year job application for the corporations he favours. Their salaries should be based on the performance of the government and the success of the province, not their own whims. No raises should be given unless it is put on the ballot for the citizens to approve. If the conservative types are so fond of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” and rabid individualism, they shouldn’t be sucking off the public teat. If I get fired by my employers or leave a temporary job, I don't even get to collect the unemployment insurance that I paid into. If they are voted out after their temporary term, they should perhaps be able to collect EI, but definitely no pension other than whatever RRSPs they contributed to themselves.