Which begs the question: what exactly are we paying for? The average congressman earns $174,000 a year, more than three-and-a-half times the U.S. median household income. For fiscal year 2013, it will cost an estimated $5.9 billion to operate Congress and the rest of the legislative branch. Salaries and benefits alone account for more than $2.5 billion of that sum. The latter is roughly the same amount we spend to staff NASA. Except NASA actually does stuff — like build rockets and launch them.
From my latest in Time: Outsource Congress.