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We’ve become blind to partisan labels here at FITS. It’s been our experience that Republicans and Democrats are cut from the same big government cloth … with Democrats at least coming by their Keynesian delusions honestly.

Seriously … when a Republican plan to cut $61 billion from a $3.7 trillion budget is considered “bold” by the GOP and “draconian” by Democrats, we have officially reached the point of intellectual bankruptcy in this country.

Which is fitting when you consider the $14.3 trillion debt that politicians of both parties have saddled us with …$8.5 trillion of which has been within the last decade.

Anyway, the latest totally unnecessary spending to be sprinkled atop this steaming pile of future generational indebtedness is $6.7 million in bonus pay for Congressional staffers of lame duck U.S. Representatives.

According to The Wall Street Journal, 96 departing members of the House (most of them Democrats) handed out these parting gifts to staffers during the fourth quarter of 2010. Add it all up and the total is 31 percent higher than the average of what they paid their staffers during the first three quarters of 2010.

Of course departing House members weren’t the only ones to hand out some extra coin. Returning HouseĀ  members saw their fourth quarter payrolls jump by an average of 16 percent.

“For the average staffer in a departing member of Congress’s office, that increase amounted to a little over $4,000,” reports LegiStorm, a website that tracks Congressional staff salaries. “All told, the House’s 4th quarter payroll was $201.7 million, up from $177.2 million on average in the previous quarters. That represents $24.5 million in excess payment for the fourth quarter. The Journal calculated that the 96 departing lawmakers alone paid their staff $6.7 million, with a handful of members paying out more than $200,000 in bonuses, including to some staffers who had taken leaves of absence during the year to work on the member campaigns.”

That $201.7 million figure is a record for Congressional pay in a quarter, eclipsing the previous mark of $194.5 million set during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Oh, and before Republicans become too righteously indignant, the Journal article notes that “Republican staffers enjoyed a similar boost when many of their employers left office at the end of 2006.”

Stay tuned for an exclusive report on the the bonuses awarded by South Carolina Congressmen …

Big Payday for Aides of Departing House Members (Wall Street Journal)
Exodus in the House lets staff bonuses flow (LegiStorm Blog)