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There are many ways one could feel about the warning Standard and Poor’s issued to the Alaska Legislature last week, stating that the state’s credit rating might drop if Alaska politicians can’t reach a deal on budget reforms.

May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

No raises

No one in Congress should receive a pay raise anytime soon.

Definitely, not in the next two months, and perhaps not afterward.

Maybe it shouldn't happen until they, and President Obama, not only pull the nation away from the fiscal cliff for the long term, but set a wise and probable path to reduce the federal deficit.

This path shouldn't be to stem the increase, but to cut spending — at home and abroad — and make dramatic reductions up to and including a zero deficit.

As it is, Congress did as little as possible to keep the country running earlier this week with its latest fiscal legislation while still funding a few pork-barrel projects.

All it did was set the stage for another run-up to the fiscal cliff in March.

Meanwhile, Obama has signed an executive order to provide members of Congress and federal workers a pay increase in the early part of this year.


Even if most federal workers should receive a raise, and many people deserve them, if only the nation and industry were in a financial position to make them, a salary increase — no matter its size — for Congress is like paying for a movie one doesn't get to see. One feels cheated, and that's how we the people feel in regard to Congress.

At least some in Congress recognize that. The bill Congress approved in response to the fiscal cliff postpones the pay raises.

Those raises should be postponed until Congress and Obama get the country's financial house in perfect order. Not one second before.

And, if that isn't sufficient to get Congress acting fiscally responsibly, then the most recent raises given to Congress gradually should be eliminated.

With the ultimate result being that Congressional — OK, and the president's — pay continue to diminish until they improve their job performance. Which, at the moment, leaves something to be desired.

And frankly, that's what it might take to get members of Congress to work together instead of playing politics with our country's well-being.

Those members would start to understand how to work together if their standard of living depended upon compensation commensurate with performance.

For what it's worth, both Alaska's senators opposed the pay raise.

Congrats to them.