People were up in arms over here about duck houses and moats being paid for by public expenses, but this pales into insignificance when we look at what our MPs in Iraq are getting.
Each member of parliament (and I will remind you that there are now 325 of them), has a take home salary of US$10,800 a month. This is completely tax free. Our parliamentarians also have access to tax-exempted loans upto 90m dinars, and have a pension of 80% of their final salary. Given that only 70 or so of our new MPs are incumbents, that means that 205 ex-parliamentarians, who were paid $518,000 over their 4-year term, will now be paid $8,640 a month, and will keep (along with their entire immediate families) their diplomatic passports. The state will be paying around US$1,771,200 a month to these old parliamentarians, many of whom didn’t even bother attending sessions, and a further US$3,510,000 to the new ones.
Let us put this in perspective. In Germany, the fourth largest economy in the world, a parliamentarian gets paid US$9,370 a month, and that is taxable. How obscene then, in a country like Iraq, where we have millions of displaced people living in slum-like conditions, is it that our elected representatives can find the time to pass legislation to sweeten their pot time and time again?
If anyone has a list of the attendance records for last term’s sessions, please send them my way, it would be great to see how much they were getting per session!