The Biography page on Robin Hayes's campaign site calles him a "business man." I guess that sounded better than "multi-millionaire." A letter to the editor in the Charlotte Observer (free registration required) has some frank words for Hayes regarding his sudden concern that he's making too much money:
U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, a Concord Republican, announced recently that he had proposed legislation to reduce the salaries of members of Congress by 5 percent, in response to the federal budget deficit and the spending demands created by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.Rep. Hayes, a hosiery mill president and member of a wealthy textile family, probably can afford to cut back a little. In a recent financial report, he listed assets of between $34 million and $88 million.
In fact, 123 of the 435 U.S. House members earned at least $1 million last year. So did about a third of the 50 U.S. senators.
Well-to-do guys are always eager to cut their pay to make a symbolic point. In practical terms the gesture would be like taking a cup of water out of Lake Norman.
The nation's finances are in bad shape, but it's not from congressional pay. It's from congressional irresponsibility: Politicians are eager to spend but reluctant to tax. Taxpayers don't want them to cut their pay. We want them to earn it.