I know there are those among my readers who are inclined to disbelieve anything that comes from Fox News, but this story is confirmed by the left-leaning Orlando Sentinel as well. U.S. Representative Daniel Webster has done what all politicians should do until the country is back on sound financial ground: cut his own salary, and slashed his office budget, returning $360,000 to the Treasury. And this isn't the first year he's done that.
“I learned as a father of six children and a small business owner how to live within my means by prioritizing my spending and doing more with less during tough times,” said Webster in a statement. “Washington needs to embrace the same approach by spending less rather than simply borrowing more, and I believe that starts with me.”
"If we're going to fix government it's going to have to start in our own house," he said.
Congressman Webster said if all 435 members of Congress would be a hawk about each dollar, it would save tens of millions of dollars each year.
"If it's appropriated, the rule is spend it. I don't believe that. I believe we ought to look at it as every dollar is important."
I've liked Dan Webster since my first contact with his office back in 1990. It was he who was largely responsible for the bill that clearly legalized homeschooling in Florida, so I'm forever grateful, even if we have some points of disagreement. He also eschews negative campaigning, and has a reputation for statesmanship, civility, and true bipartisanship.
Granted, his pay cut of $4700 is only 2.7% of his $174,000 annual salary, but would you voluntarily pay an extra 3% in taxes? Anyone who considers that a triviality is welcome to try to out-do him.
It turns out that our own representative, John Mica, also returned appropriated money ($150,000 in the last two years), and another Florida congressman, Bill Posey, has given back money and also held his own salary to the level he earned when he was elected in 2008. This kind of action ought to be bigger news than it is. No, it's not going to solve our problems, but it's a step, and more than that, it's an important symbol.
If Americans must suffer to bring about a sane and stable economy, then those who have taken on the mantle of leadership, be they politicians or business leaders or entertainers, should ... LEAD!