By Rick Kazmer
Here‚Äôs an idea.
What if politicians were paid based on results? That is to say, their pay is determined by how well their constituency is doing.
We often here political challengers talk about how they don‚Äôt want to be career politicians who pander to lobbyists or milk the system. But lawmakers often make much more than most of the taxpayers they represent. Great pay, benefits and a pension. It‚Äôs a good deal. Likely a better salary and benefit package than most taxpayers earn. Where‚Äôs the motivation?
Yes, we can vote out poor performers. But politicians are skilled at producing jargon that masks their inability. They have people on staff (paid for by taxpayers) who sit around and write press releases.
I am sure some intelligent economist somewhere could come up with a formula that gauges the overall health and vibrancy of a particular political region. Lawmakers there, both state and federal, should have their pay based on that figure. The formula would certainly include unemployment and average household income. The better the region‚Äôs health ‚Äî a sign of good lawmaking in that area ‚Äîthe better the pay.
It would be the greatest motivator for a job well done.
Of course detractors will say that some areas are naturally at a disadvantage ‚Äî for geographic or political reasons. But don‚Äôt people elect legislators to change the circumstances of their region for the better?
Somerset County residents don‚Äôt want to hear that jobs are disappearing because there is no high-speed Internet, Route 219 is unfinished or the state taxes are too high. They elect people who say they are going to fix those problems. Under a performance-based pay scale the person who does will be rewarded financially. The person who doesn‚Äôt should be voted out, but if they are not, at least they won‚Äôt be raking it in.