November 6, 2010 10:59PM

First Up: A Symbolic Cut in Pay

The Hill reports that the likely Speaker of the new Republican House, John Boehner (R-OH) will move first to cut representatives’ pay.

Cutting member pay would show voters the new GOP majority in the House is going to lead by example in their efforts to rein in spending and start with their own wallets, say officials with three prominent taxpayer advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.

Give a read to the whole article, and some themes recur: “gesture”, “symbols”, “symbolic gestures”, “symbolic moves”, “symbolic things”, “the right message”, “signals and symbols”, “symbol to the public”.

Symbols are great, but they don’t actually do anything. Rather than symbols, it might be better to hear a commitment to substance.

Or even procedure! A commitment to pass the appropriations bills on time would be good, for example, providing the public an opportunity to weigh in on the spending priorities of Congress.