Report: Members of Congress earn 3.4 times the average U.S. salary

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The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and Our Generation (OG) advocacy groups released a report Wednesday showing that federal legislators earn 3.4 times more than the average full-time American worker, and are among the highest paid legislators in the industrialized world.

The report compares congressional salaries and benefits with what private sector workers receive, and with those of foreign legislators.

According to the report, members of Congress receive an annual salary of $174,000 — which alone puts them in the highest-paid 5 percent of U.S. workers. They also, however, receive a host of additional benefits that put their total annual compensation at around $285,000. By comparison, the average full-time American employee earns just $50,875 annually.

The report also compared the American ratio of legislator pay to citizen salary with the same ratios in 13 developed countries, including Spain, Norway, France, the UK, Sweden, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan. Of those 13, only Japan had a higher ratio. On average, legislators in other countries receive salaries equal to 2.3 times the average wage.

“Congress has run up a $14.3 trillion debt and a $1.5 trillion deficit, yet they are still among the best compensated employees in America,” said Taxpayers Protection Alliance president David Williams. “It is time to hold our representatives in Washington responsible for their job performance. With the high salaries Congress is collecting, we don’t think it’s too much to ask that they do their jobs and get our economic house in order.”

The groups point out that if congressional salaries were cut to $100,000, taxpayers could save $39 million each year. (RELATED: Gingrich worth at least $6.7 million, has paid off Tiffany account)

“During a weak economic recovery, when unemployment is high and many Americans have to make do with less, Congress should not be rewarding itself with extravagant salaries and benefits,” said Our Generation executive director MacMillin Slobodien. “Immediate steps must be taken to cut congressional salaries and benefits and reassure Americans that sacrifices made during this economic downturn are being shared.”

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Caroline May