At the outset, let me confess that I once ran for the House of Representatives in 1980 when I lived in South Carolina. Suffice it to say, I was a fish out of water. I got my clocked cleaned so bad that a friend of mine suggested “If I didn’t have any more friends than that, I’d carry a gun if I were you!”
My good friend John Jebaily of Florence, South Carolina then gave me a piece of interesting advice: “It’s cheaper to buy a politician than it is to be one!” Frankly, I don’t want to be one nor do I want to own one.
My wife, Christine, often asks me “Why did you run?” To be candid, I don’t have a reasonable answer except that I thought I could make a difference. My problem is that I didn’t know how the game was played.
The main goal of any elected politician is to get reelected. Period. Let’s not complicate it. Unless they are reelected, then they can’t really accomplish their ulterior goals, i.e. to make a difference, blah, blah, blah.
For instance, the salary of retired US Presidents is now over $400,000 and climbing… for life. Plus, there are plenty of other perks including a $50,000 non-taxable expense account and a license to steal in the form of speaking fees.
Some of the agents that have booked me over the years tell me that they have also placed Clinton. His fees in 2011 alone were over $13 million. Why do they need a $400,000 retirement fund when all they have to do is show up for an appearance?
I don’t think it would hurt the X-Prez a bit if we cut his income to $200K per year. That would be an interesting suggestion.
And if the President’s retirement package isn’t enough, look at what the other bozos in Washington have passed for their own retirements.
The 600+ retired House and Senate members get an average of just under $50,000 for life, regardless of how long they served. Some are receiving in excess of six figures. Why should they receive anything? Their service has ended.
Makes you want to roll the di
Why not just have term limits? That would accomplish the same thing. Don’t give Congress a chance to find a hole in the law to run again.
Surely, the voters are smart enough to determine by vote how long the term limit should be… or are they?
Many argue that it’s far too difficult to pass an Amendment limiting the term a member Congress can serve. The 26th Amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 — before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.ce, get elected to Congress and then sit back and retire and live off the fat of the land. But politicians are far too greedy for that which is why they spend all their available time getting reelected.
And then there are the Congressional leaders like the Speaker of the House, whose compensation is nearly a quarter million a year. Retired Majority and Minority leaders are not quite $200K per year. I feel so sorry for them.
My son and his wife are teachers. The wife of another son is a teacher as well. Their annual salary is sadly in the range of $40,000 per year, less in some states and more in others. The people we entrust our children’s future to are almost eligible for Welfare.
If that’s not insulting enough, the average compensation of the men and women who defend our country in the military is even less than teachers. They put their lives in harm’s way, standing on a wall in places far away making sure that no harm will come to you tonight, all for $38,000 per year for a deployed soldier.
Warren Buffet, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You pass a law that says anytime there is a deficit of more than 3 percent of the GNP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for reelection.”
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at email@example.com.