Monday, December 17, 2007

Merit Pay for Congress

EXPLANATION: The objective is to link congressional merit rewards to Congress's job performance. Merit pay techniques are successfully used throughout business management to align employee and employer objectives. Since congresspersons rely heavily on their staffs, all staff reporting to congresspersons must be included in the system. Often the consequences of Congress’s actions are not apparent until years later, so this must be a deferred incentive. Each Congress has a two-year term. A reasonable time for the quality of the Congress to become apparent is about four years. Since voters can see the overall results but are not privy to the internal workings of Congress, evaluation should be of the entire Congress.
Congresspersons’ performance grade will be a matter for pride or embarrassment. A bonus of one-third of their income is reasonable to help focus attention on their obligation to serve the people.
DRAFT OF PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE DIRECT INITIATIVE: Starting next January 1, the U.S. Government shall withhold one sixth of the pretax incomes of each member of both Houses of Congress and of the staff reporting to each member. If making a withhold is legally impossible for some persons, those affected shall be excluded temporarily and Congress shall promptly clear the impediments. Congress shall not increase remuneration to compensate for this withholding. The Government shall place withholds into a merit pool. The people through their government shall match the withholds, thereby doubling the pool to about one third of the participants' income. The Government shall invest the pool in treasuries and add interest income to the pool.
At each General Election, the Electorate shall vote on how they think the Congress that existed four years ago had performed. The ballot shall show 11 grades of performance from “A+” to “D” corresponding to merit payment from 100 percent of the pool to zero. The nationwide average percentage times the merit pool shall be used to compute the total merit pay. The average percentage shall be rounded to the nearest ten percentile to determine the average grade. The current Congress shall distribute the total merit pay to the participants prorated on the amount originally withheld from each participant. All undistributed funds shall return to the government.