Why We Should Pay Politicians More

If you pay peanuts, monkeys will steal all your shit

You cannot pay a servant poorly and then expect them to handle your money. That’s just asking for trouble. And yet that’s what we do with politicians. We expect them to handle billions of dollars in public funds and pay them less than a trishaw driver.

A Sri Lankan member of Parliament is paid around $340 a month as basic salary. This is well below the average household income for Colombo ($650) for a job which is considered near the top. Their pay is simply not realistic or fair for the job they do.

An MP should be paid in line with a private sector CEO, at least $5,000 a month. And that point you can justifiably cane them for corruption, because you weren’t exploiting them in the first place. Handle contracts worth billions and get paid 1/4th of an iPhone, lol.

I firmly believe that you shouldn’t put people in a position where they’re fighting against economics, because they’ll lose. Even a good person would be corrupted by such a low salary. Meanwhile a bad person sees it as an opportunity. So that’s what we get. Politicians aren’t corrupting us. We’re corrupting them.

Keeping MP salaries low — as our increasingly erratic President wants to do — is counter-productive, posturing bullshit that makes our country worse. It makes theatre out of fighting corruption while keeping the economic reality rotten. It makes a moral issue out of an economic one and prevents an actual solution.

We shouldn’t expect our politicians to be monks. Hell, our monks don’t even live like monks. Pay them fairly and then beat them mercilessly if they steal.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication. Patreon: patreon.com/indication

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