Average Salary: $174,000
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,088,000
The salary is good, but the work itself is what drives most public officials to seek office. Members of the Senate and the House make the same salary: $174k. The majority and minority leaders of both houses each make $193,400.
There is a pension plan with age and service requirements, but the least of those is a five-year term of service. A Senator need only serve one full term to qualify. Congress members are also eligible for Social Security benefits. Current pensioners get between $35,000 and $60,000 a year. This may seem modest, but keep in mind that half of the members (261) of Congress are millionaires.
Senators get their health care through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The health care plans, policies, and practices of our elected officials have been heavily scrutinized lately. Taxpayers don't believe they should give their representatives more than they have themselves. The health care plan isn't free, and there are options that look a lot like your employer plans.
The private FEHP system is hailed by both parties and recently by President Obama as a good example of the kind we all should have. It is the largest employer-sponsored health plan in the country.