Several decades ago I had a Professor Phil Gramm as my Economics 301 professor at Texas A&M University. Many might recognize the name. He quit a tenured (guaranteed for life) position at Texas A&M in order to enter politics. He served as a United States Congressman from 1979 to 1985 (Democrat from 1979 to 1983 and Republican from 1983 to 1985), and a United States Senator (Republican) from 1985 to 2002.
When Gramm retired from the Senate in 2002, papers throughout the nation noted that he was retiring with $64 million in his campaign war chest, some of it from me. Did he send me my money back? Nope. He just got to keep $64 million, all for himself.
That explained to me why wealthy people (think DuPont, Kennedy, Issa, etc.) enter politics. They don’t do it to serve the public. Far from it. Rather, they enter it for the power and money. Face it. One hundred Senators and 435 Congresspersons out of 319 million people are special, i.e., powerful.
A tenured position at Texas A&M back then was paying about $125,000, so if we presumed that Gramm never got a raise and worked 30 years at Texas A&M, he would have made a mere $3,750,000. That doesn’t begin to compare to $64 million (which DOES NOT include his annual salary as a Congressman and Senator!). Then you add in all the perks, like the greatest health insurance in the world, an annual lifetime salary of $100,000 or so after retiring, meals, overseas trips paid for by donors, etc.
Ever since 2002, I have been pretty pessimistic about politicians. I firmly believe that every politician lies. It’s in their job descriptions. In order to be successful (i.e., elected and re-elected), you must lie. What voters have to determine is who is telling the best (i.e., most truthful) lies, or at the least, the lies we like the best. At the moment, I’m pretty much a fan of the lies that the Democrats tell. They make more sense to me, seem to be more compassionate and fair.
I also am a fan of term limits, believing that if term limits are good enough for the President of the United States (two terms; that’s it!), they ought to be good enough for everyone else. So here’s what I would suggest everyone do when voting in next month’s elections:
Of course, few will listen to me. I predict that at least 85% of the incumbents will be re-elected……….. :(
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