Editor’s note: Today’s editorials originally appeared in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.
Do the members of Congress deserve a pay raise?
That question is likely to induce scorn or, perhaps, ironic laughter, for many. The members of Congress, as a whole, aren’t particularly popular.
So it’s hardly a surprise that a bipartisan plan in Congress to increase lawmakers’ salaries after a decadelong pay freeze is facing resistance from the lawmakers who would see their annual salary of $174,000 increase.They fear a public backlash at the next election. The fear is well founded, particularly with income equality ravaging many Americans.
The nation’s politicians, whether Republican or Democrat, are viewed with skepticism by many. And when folks learn members of Congress are paid $174,000 a year — three times the average salary of Americans — many are taken aback.
This is why, in the midst of the Great Recession a decade ago, Congress opted to forgo its annual cost-of-living increase. It has now done so each year since then.
The idea of taking the increase now — estimated at about $4,500 a year — has been gaining momentum. Lawmakers in politically competitive districts have recoiled at the idea.
The unrest prompted Democratic leaders Monday night to delay action on annual legislation to fund congressional operations, according to The Associated Press.
“That’s something that everybody would have to come together on in terms of bipartisanship,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of approving the pay raise. “Until we have that there’s no reason to even discuss it.”
While this might be frustrating for those in Congress who find it difficult to maintain two residences, it’s the reality of serving at the pleasure of the people. In order to justify a pay raise, Congress must be doing its job well.
Right now, that’s debatable — hence the debate within the House and Senate.
Those in Congress who want a cost-of-living increase make the case that if the salary paid does not cover personal expenses then the only people who can serve in Congress are the wealthy. We agree that’s a concern, but it’s one that a cost-of-living increase will not solve. Larger reform is needed.
The issue at hand is whether the members of Congress are in touch with the people they serve.
If they feel they are, and they feel they deserve the pay hike, then they should support it and accept the consequences at the next election,
But if they don’t, they might be wise to put off the increase for another year and do their jobs in such a way that the public will support their higher pay.
The pay system in Congress was designed to hold its members accountable for salary increases. It’s working.
Decency and good sportsmanship part of athletics
Tales of out-of-control, overzealous sports parents grow more outrageous by the year. Moms and dads (as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and friends) seem to be losing perspective — as well as the common decency and a respect for good sportsmanship — more frequently. It’s been getting worse over the years.
And perhaps that explains an unseemly event in big-time athletics this week.
Fans of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors on Monday cheered (some wildly) when Golden State Warrior basketball star Kevin Durant, trying to come back from a calf injury that occurred a month earlier, collapsed on the court with a rupture of his Achille’s tendon, which required immediate surgery and means a year-long rehabilitation.
Raptors players quickly — and appropriately — motioned for the crowd to knock it off. These fans let their zeal for their team — and winning — get the best of them.
Following the game, Warriors star Stephen Curry said he was “very confused about that reaction,” because it was “not my experience with people of this city.” He commended Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Danny Green for “kind of signaling to the crowd, like, let’s check ourselves a little bit.”
“I just hope that ugliness doesn’t show itself again,” Curray added.
Cheering the injury of an opposing is not cool in sports at any level.
Where it is more despicable is at the youth sports level. The cheers when a 10-year-old shortstop takes a grounder off his noggin or a 12-year-old point guard falls hard on the court as she loses the ball are just plain wrong.
It’s hard to say whether this boorish behavior started at the youth level and has now infiltrated the pro level or if lousy sportsmanship by pro and college fans is influencing youth sports.
Either way, it’s got to stop.
Many youth sports organizations, including those in Walla Walla, do a fantastic job of ensuring that youth athletes, parents and fans approach each game and practice with the proper perspective.
These kids are playing a game and learning skills — athletic skills as well as life skills. They are learning — or should be learning — about life and what it means to be a good teammate and competitor.
The booing in Toronto serves as a good reminder to, as Curry said, “check ourselves a little bit.”