Why are elected officials above the "people"?

In essence, why do they pass laws designed to help or hinder the populace as a whole but stipulate differences for themselves.
The two biggies I can think of are health care and retirement.

Any real good reason why this must be so?

Because they can.

And the voters don’t punish them for the behavior.

Pretty much this.

I never gave it a lot of thought but occasionally I think a constitutional amendment should be made that ties what elected reps give themselves to everyone else. For instance their healthcare plan should be available to anyone who wants to buy into it at the same rate they do. Same with retirement benefits. Any pay increase for them must see an equivalent increase in the minimum wage and so on.

Would this cover it?

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

Congress has to pay into Social Security and will be required to buy insurance off the exchanges created by the Health Care Reform bill. So I don’t really know what your talking about.

So short answer, “they’re not”. Indeed, in the case of health care reform, they went to sort of silly lengths to make sure they weren’t exempt.

Know why they have a decent plan? Because they are employed in important jobs, that is why.
Here is a short description of their plan, from a site giving the same “why doesn’t everyone have it” spin. It doesn’t sound all that much different from the plan I have, to tell you the truth. Notice it is not a special plan for them, but part of a plan for all government employees.

Give this to everyone, and we have UHC. I’m sure some Congressmen would like that, and some wouldn’t. However them getting this plan is no different from a guy with a good union job getting a plan, or an executive getting a plan.

I’m for healthcare for everyone, but this kind of comment pisses me off, since they are part of a larger set which seems to be unable to tell the difference between a guy, elected by the people of his or her state after a grueling campaign and dealing with complex issues, and a ditch digger. Any person in the country can apply for any number of jobs with benefits about this good. However, if they blew off school because that book learning will never get you anywhere, and never got a decent education of the degrees you need, tough. Everyone deserves decent basic coverage, but if you want more than that, work for it.

Really? Are they in particular not covered by the Federal Employees plan anymore, or is that part of the exchange? Just curious.

What would it take to get that into law? A highly public campaign on behalf of the people, by the people? I don’t see it being proposed by the House or the Senate.

Time Magazine-Above Their Own Laws.

I’m curious about the political leanings of those who are worried about this kind of thing. Are they liberals, who want everyone brought up to the same high level as Congress, or are they conservatives, who want to say politicians are the selfish elite? I think Kearsen is relatively conservative - do you have any idea of the tax increase required to implement such a plan, or would you rather make these benefits less than the average engineer gets?

Dated May 23, 1988

Must I document every change in government policy for the last 22 years?

No, the Health Care Bill forces them to drop their federal coverage and buy off the exchanges. As I said, this is pretty silly, since the Health Care bill was purposely designed to exempt people who get good coverage from their work anyways. So in order to please people like the OP, Congress basically bent over backwords and exempt themselves from the exemption that everyone else got.

Runner Pat, are you seriously citing an article from 1988. (also, I guessed the article would be from the 80’s before I clicked, which I think tells you something).

Personally, I think the benefits for serving in a public office should be the type of transparent we have been promised but always failed to provide.
Pay should be the primary incentive (well, that and wanting to actually work for your country)
The back room deals, the private jets and whatever else that usually stays above the general public eye needs to be brought in line with what the general public feels a public servant should be getting as “just compensation”.

Leaving it up to them seems to be an exercise in futility. People all over the world are self serving yet we expect them to be above that (and they should be)

Oh, my political leaning is conservative splashed with some liberal values and some libertarian ideals.

Keasen are you going to acutally tell us what problems you’re trying to address? What laws are Congress exempt from that you feel they shouldn’t be?

Sorry about that, the Google search showed a different date and I didn’t notice the actual date.

As Voy suggested, I think that they have incredibly difficult jobs, and deserve the extra scatch/bennies. With all the fundraising, constituent services, and travel, they are probably working 6-7 days a week, 10-14 hrs a day. The pay may seem good at a buck 74 a year, but that’s really not all that much, especially considering most of these guys (and gals) are lawyers and could make as much or more in the private sector, with a lot less headaches. I know that my congressman had to quit, not run for re-election in 2008, because he said he needed to make more coin (The moderate T. Davis, for those who are interested).

Also remember that these guys need to maintain both a residence in their home district, and get a place somewhere close to Capitol Hill.

At the end of the day, I have no problems with the good retirement plan and any extra healthcare fringe they get. (Although the real ‘retirement plan’ is the connections they make on the hill, for when they get out and either consult, lobby, or work for a gov contractor).

Pay for high office is pretty pitiful in general, thanks to pressure from the press and those who don’t understand industry pay scales - not even CEO ones. I know someone very high up in state government (was on TV all the time) who was responsible for billions of dollars and made peanuts. When the administration changed and he went into private industry at last, he doubled his pay overnight - and for a much less stressful job.

As for backroom deals, the healthcare summit illustrated what front room deals look like - posturing for the voters. Complex negotiations in industry are not done in front of employees or stockholders - why should political deals be done this way?

I’m guessing any that are distinctly different from what they themselves would be willing to use.
The two I listed were health care and retirement. The health care one seems to have an answer (I’m doing some research on it). What about the retirement one?
This also seems to bring many other details out in the open as any good discussion would, I suppose.

I know that runner pat has a pretty substantial list, have all of those been adjusted for in recent years?

To answer you simply, because they affect each and every one of us. Are you now advocating that government should be run like a corporation?

What do you mean “retirement”. Assuming you mean Social Security, Congress has to buiy into Social Security just as everyone else does. This is another case in which they forced themselves to not exempt themselves even though an exemption would’ve actually made sense, since federal employees already had a government insured pension plan. So again, I think the reality is the opposite of what you guess, Congress actually tends to take pains to not exempt themselves from their own legislation, even when such an exemption would make sense.

Frankly, its a little bizarre to start a post suggesting a remedy for a problem that you “guess” exists, but have no actual evidence for.