Yesterday, I wrote about Kamala Harris’s new equal pay proposal. It has some serious flaws if you have a deep understanding of how companies structure compensation or have ever been an employee in the private sector. So I decided I was being unfair and there might be a way to help our elected officials better understand what it means to be an employee. After all, they work for us and many have never been employees in the private sector at all.
So I propose we develop and implement a performance-based pay system for our elected representatives in Washington. Based on what voters, not lobbyists or special interest groups want. For a baseline, let’s require them to put 50% of their base pay at risk against the following criteria.
First, to determine priorities for the coming session, Gallup will conduct a poll in December to identify the top five priorities of registered American voters. These will become the legislative priorities for the session. This would be analogous to employers setting business goals for the coming year.
Representatives will be evaluated on their ability to participate in a negotiation process that results in legislative action on the top five priorities. They will need to review polling data and other voter preference information because credit will only be awarded if a voter satisfaction survey demonstrates a plurality of 40% voters are at least 80% satisfied with the outcome. A summary from the Congressional Research Service will be used to evaluate voter satisfaction via Gallup and must include all pork barrel line items and riders attached to the bill.
Next, they will need to document that they spend 10 times as much time meeting directly with constituents individually or in small groups than they do meeting with either lobbyists or donors. They will also be evaluated on the percentage of time they spend campaigning for reelection. It should comprise 5% or less of their total schedule.
Both chambers need to review and either consent or decline any agency regulation that involves a fine or other penalties for an organization or individual before it is placed in the Federal Register. If a regulation is submitted before October 15 of the current session it must be reviewed in that session.
Additional criteria for Senators should include completing the confirmation process for all Presidential appointees submitted prior to November 1 of the session. Additional criteria for the House is the passage of a zero-based budget on time for the President’s signature.
The Majority and Minority Leaders of both chambers will receive a 10% bonus if all objectives are met. Individual representatives will receive a 5% bonus if they author a piece of legislation that meets the voter satisfaction criteria and a 2% bonus if they are a co-sponsor.
And because Senator Harris thinks self-reporting is a wonderful idea, the representative must track all of this information and submit it before December 31 of the appropriate year. If deficiencies are noted, it is up to the representative to explain them to receive their total compensation.
And in the name of transparency, their final score must be posted on both their Congressional bio and their website. This mirrors Senator Harris’s requirement for corporations since a little public humiliation is a great motivator. Should their performance earn them reelection, they will receive a 5% retention bonus.
These, of course, are just my thoughts on how to relieve gridlock and ensure our representatives are focused on voter priorities. We have lived long enough with political footballs like immigration and need people willing to solve real problems, not push an agenda in Washington D.C.
And perhaps, just maybe, if the political class was treated like the employees they actually are, they would have a better sense of what working Americans actually face. And that meeting employer expectations should lead to rewards for doing so, regardless of immutable characteristics.