Money, Corruption, & Politicians
America has the best politicians money can buy
Here’s an interesting question: who would spend $25 million (mostly in donated funds) to keep a job that pays $194,000.00 annually? Well, the $194-thousand salary is what Nancy Pelosi gets paid (annually) to serve as Speaker of the House. $25 million is how much she averages in campaign donations every two years. Actually, she raised $27 million, spent $21 million, retaining about $6 million in her war chest.
Well, of course, there are a few follow-on questions. If Nancy Pelosi has a net worth of $120,000,000.00 — if she makes only $194,000.00 a year, then where is she getting her money? I am asking because at her salary as Speaker of the House, she’d have to work for 618.5 years in order to accumulate $120 million. Oh wait … maybe she’s a very wise investor, or lucky … or something else.
The Pelosi investment portfolio includes Facebook, Apple, Comcast, Shutterfly, and Walt Disney. And a ton of real estate properties in downtown San Francisco, of course. Plus, it might be interesting for some to know that, according to Steve Kroft ( 60 Minutes report in 2011) it was perfectly legal for members of congress to engage in insider investments — while normal folks (you and I) would have gone to jail for insider trading. File this under the Politically Elite Exemption Provision of the U. S. Constitution (which I cannot seem to find a copy of).
After Kroft’s airing of his report in 2011, Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. Only three members of the Senate opposed the act: Jeff Bingaman, Richard Burr, and Tom Coburn. House Members who, at the time, were vulnerable to losing their seats in Congress overwhelmingly supported the bill (417-2). So the question remains, how do members of congress — especially the veterans — who arrive in Congress next to poor, end up as millionaires? In 2014, Nancy Pelosi was worth $74.2 million. Seven years later, she’s increased her wealth to $120 million.
Obviously, some members of Congress were wealthy before arriving in Washington; it didn’t make them any poorer staying there for a few terms. Pelosi’s wealth likely comes from her real estate holdings, which are substantial. John McCain married into his wealth. In 2010, 150 lawmakers claimed that most of their wealth came from investments — and we don’t exactly know how to define that.
Could it mean, for example, backing a bill that generates kickbacks? For instance, did Nancy Pelosi support any bills that materially benefitted Facebook, Apple, Comcast, or Walt Disney Enterprises? Does she lease any of her properties to the federal government?
When the median household income in the United States is $65,000.00 (as of 2018), and Congressional salaries are $174,000.00 (for the regular member), can we really make the argument that members of Congress are looking out after John Q. Citizen? Joe Biden is now earning $400,000.00 annually for serving as president. On his first day at the office, he put between 70,000 and 100,000 Americans out of work. Two things become apparent:
- Despite all the campaign rhetoric about looking after the American people, no member of congress or the White House really gives a damn about us. All this nonsense about increasing the minimum wage does no more than shift the cost of increased wages onto the backs of consumers. The Democrat’s demands for taxing the rich only increases the consumer’s cost of goods and services. Biden can cause people to lose their jobs with a snap of his fingers, and for the rest of us, lower our disposable income by increasing the cost of gas and oil. Democratic voter … thy name is Idiot.
- Members of Congress are not going to give up any of THEIR money to the poor. I’m thinking Nancy Pelosi doesn’t eat McDonald hamburgers, but if you’re worth $120 million, who cares about the cost of a hamburger and fries?
Unrelated: Donald Trump donated his $400,000 annual salary to charity, will Biden? Never mind — I was just being silly.
The attitude among these political elites is basically this — don’t blame them because you weren’t smart enough to get elected to Congress. The problem for America is, I think, that we have many levels of elitism going on simultaneously.
Presidents, Governors, & Mayors; Congress members, state legislators & city councilmen; federal judges, state judges, & municipal judges — every one of them imagining that they’re better people than those who elected them. Well, they may be better off that we are, financially, but they are hardly better people that most of us.
There are no sour grapes here — honestly. I just think that before you elect someone to public office, someone who is willing to spend tens of millions of other people’s money to get a salary of $174,000 — maybe they don’t deserve your vote. If it smells bad on election day, the odor won’t improve with time.
Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar