Speaking in front of a white board at George Mason University, Fimian said that congressional salaries should be cut to $50,000 until members balance the budget. He added that once that happens, he would want a $250,000 bonus.
In his ad, Connolly slams Fimian for supposedly supporting bonuses for members of Congress -- an allegation that seems absurd given that the context of Fimian's statement was a larger rant against government spending.
But if Fimian wants to play Connolly's little game, he could offer a good comeback.
If you take Fimian's "$250,000 bonus" suggestion literally, the government would have to dole out $109 million in bonuses to the 435 voting members of the House once they balance the budget.
But until that's accomplished, cutting members' $174,000 base salaries to $50,000 would save $54 million each year. Given that a Republican takeover of the House is likely and even greater legislative gridlock appears imminent, it seems extremely unlikely that a balanced budget will be approved within two years -- the amount of time necessary to make up that $109 million in bonus payouts.
Best case scenario, Congress does pass a balanced budget by 2012, and we save $54 million for each of two years, then pay it back in bonuses. Zero net impact.
Worst case scenario, the government saves $54 million annually as it continues spending beyond its means for years on end.
Performance pay for congressmen?