by Chris Haire
In an op-ed in The Greenville News, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.) has told members of Congress they are being hypocritical when they chastise AIG executives for accepting bonuses. After all, Barrett's comrades in the Capitol building continue to accept automatic pay raises.
At its core, the outrage over AIG is about not rewarding mismanagement with taxpayer money. However, one of the greatest examples of mismanagement is what continues to occur in Congress. It stands to reason then that the same folks who gave us the AIG bonuses, who gave us 9,000 earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, who gave us a record-breaking deficit and an ineffective stimulus bill, should be the last people to receive a taxpayer-funded bonus.
This year, Barrett, who received a salary of $169,300 before the pay hike, has chosen to give his $4,700 raise to faith-based charity organization Anderson Interfaith Ministries, which provides assistance to the needy.
According to Barrett's office, the Upstate representative has accepted a pay-raise every year since he first took office in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003, and this is the first year he has given his Congressional raise to a charity.
However, the Congressman introduced legislation in 2008 and again this year to end the automatic pay raise. The bill failed in 2008, and the current version has yet to be brought to the floor for a vote.
In the op-ed, Barrett cited Nancy Pelosi's salary — $223,500 — but not his own six-figure income.
Barrett is currently running for governor of South Carolina.