Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

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Martin Blank
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Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by Martin Blank » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:35 am

Previous discussion part: US Constitution Discussion, Part 37: Amendment XXVI

Articles and Sections are offset by bold text; and underlined text has been modified, superseded, or repealed by Amendments, and generally are no longer in effect.

Amendment XXVII.

No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


Ratification completed May 7, 1992

A bit of a nightmare scenario in some ways, this amendment was actually one of the original twelve amendments offered up in what became the Bill of Rights. It was passed just over 200 years after it was first suggested. Ironically, it was the second amendment suggested, even before the right to free speech and practice of religion.

Basically, it bars any increase in compensation for members of Congress until the next session of the House is elected. This theoretically prevents Congress from voting itself pay increases at will, but since 1989 there has been a law in effect increasing Congressional pay annually at the rate of private sector wage growth, but in no case higher than other government employees pay increases.

Since that's not really a major issue, perhaps the question better to ask would be, what is the proper level of compensation for members of Congress (presently it is set at $162,100 per year, with a 2.5% pay increase scheduled for January 1)? How should it be determined within the existing structure of government? How is it handled in other nations?
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Post by Donomni » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:52 pm

I would think a max of $175,000 would be acceptable. Noticably larger than most normal salaries, yet not bad enough to make the economy worse for the wear, despite the slightly wounded position it's in.

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Post by CheddarCheese » Tue Sep 27, 2005 5:26 pm

Relate congressional salaries inversely to the change in federal spending. If spending decreases by 10% then the salaries would increase by 10% and vice versa. Before this goes into effect though, the salaries should be dropped to the median income level for their state.

( http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/m ... state.html )
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:04 pm

An interesting question: If you raise congressional salaries, will it make elected officials less succeptable to the bribes of monied interest lobbies?
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Post by Deacon » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:51 pm

Not really. First of all, not all bribes are for money. While nobody ever really decided they've got "enough" money, most senators (and a good deal of congressmen) aren't poor and need the money to put food on the table. They do, however, salivate at the glistening carrot of power, prestige, and fame. Monetary bribes are easy to track and easy to get nailed on. But why not offer the nice lady a seat on the Congressional XYZ Comittee, perhaps with hints of a chair position? Might they be able to swing a governorship back home? Maybe president someday, if they play their cards right? For most politicians this is a career, and a base monetary bribe isn't some low-hanging fruit.

Besides, do you really want to pay your congressmen millions of dollars a year a piece?
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Post by StruckingFuggle » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:59 pm

No, I don't really want to.

And you've got a good point with there being other things to bribe people with than money.
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Post by twl1973 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 4:55 pm

[quote="Deacon";p="547554"]Not really. First of all, not all bribes are for money.[/quote]

Most "bribes" are in the form of cash donations. You do X and I'll give Y number of dollars to your campaign fund. It comes down to is there any way to stop the influence of money over politicians? I don't think there is.

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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by ampersand » Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:47 am

I had no idea there was a 27th Amendment. In fact, every time I've heard about the Constitution and how may amendments there are in it, I've always heard 26, even until now.

Weird.

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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by Arc Orion » Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:05 am

Wow, that was indeed the most useful necro ever.
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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by Martin Blank » Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:16 am

ampersand wrote:I had no idea there was a 27th Amendment.
It's not something that affects our daily lives, or even most of our lives at all. Congress got around it by setting up a law that automatically provides for payroll increases unless they explicitly decide not to get them. Kind of violates the spirit of the amendment, I think.
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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by collegestudent22 » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:28 am

Martin Blank wrote: unless they explicitly decide not to get them.
There is no way in HELL that would happen, especially with a Congressional makeup like the last few Congresses....
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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by StruckingFuggle » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:42 am

You seem to be blaming congress, cs22, kinda like it's unique to them and a different congress might not do that. That doesn't seem to particularly be fair. How many people, anywhere, who do anything, would explicitly turn down an automatic pay raise they had coming?
"He who lives by the sword dies by my arrow."

"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by adciv » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:19 pm

How many people, anywhere, actually get an automatic pay raise?
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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by StruckingFuggle » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:45 pm

I don't particularly see how that's relevant to my question. But my answer would probably be "not many, but if most people could wrangle it, I bet they would".
"He who lives by the sword dies by my arrow."

"In your histories, there are continual justifications for all manner of hellish actions. Claims of nobility and heritage and honor to cover up every bit of genocide, assassination, and massacre. At least the Horde is honest in their naked lust for power."

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Re: Constitution Discussion, Part 38: Amendment XXVII

Post by collegestudent22 » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:56 pm

Then why did it take them this long to "wrangle it"?

Probably because enough other Congressmen and Senators realized no one needed an automatic pay raise. Especially when they are usually rich already. The only other people who get a raise every year is the military, and that is in no way automatic (Congress must approve it every year). When your paycheck is 30K a year, 3% is barely anything, while when your pay is 165K a year, 3% is a lot more....
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

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