Members of Congress get automatic pay raises, a full pension, free parking in many parking lots and garages throughout Washington, D.C., and a lucrative 401k plan. As of 2011, a congressman's salary sat at around $174,000 per year, and with benefits, that figure jumps to around $250,000 per year.
In 2011, around 46 percent of members of United States Congress had a net worth of more than $1 million. Compare this to the fact that most of the U.S. makes $50,000 or less per year, and it causes people to be quite upset. In 2009, Congress voted to forgo its annual raise for 2 years and a bill was introduced that would cut each members salary by 5 percent. That wasn't the first time such a bill was introduced and bills like that never gain support from the members of Congress.
Taxpayers pay matching contributions to Congress members' 401k. Contributions to a Congressman's 401k carry a matching rate of 5 percent, which is more than most "normal" people make. As of 2011, company contributions to an employee's 401k occur at a rate of around 3 percent.
Politicians know how to play the system and this helps them keep many of their generous benefits. Politicians often manipulate news stories to make the American people feel good about themselves and the job Congress does. This shines politicians in a positive light, making it easier for people to turn a blind eye to the many benefits they receive in office.