I agree, the government has gotten way too big and they pay themselves far better than the average income of the citizens they represent, which I feel is quite unfair to us taxpayers. I don't think they should get raises unless the public ok's it, and I think the gifts and travel expenses should be thoroughly scrutinized by independent and changing firms and the results should be made public every year. That way the public can decide if the politician made good use of the funds they spent and if not they can be unseated and give the next person a chance. I think if they knew up front that all of their spending and gifts and contributions received would be made public every time they would be much more concerned about their activities. People need to start running the government instead of the government telling the people what they will be taking next.....only problem is many politicians are elected by the vast numbers of poor who pay little or no taxes, their votes are purchased with empty promises of monies that will come from the middle class over taxed if they materialize at all, the government won't increase taxes on the rich even if their campaign promises are that they will, the wealthy will just take their businesses to other countries and that hurts the national gross domestic product which devalues the dollar and reduces income from business taxes and so the politicians learn quickly that big business butters the bread of the country on a global scale, so the middle class is left to shoulder the burden once again.