Fight organized crime

Opinion

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:

Fight organized crime

Of course, few will listen to me. I predict that at least 85% of the incumbents will be re-elected……….. 😦

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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14 thoughts on “Fight organized crime

  1. Cindy Naidoo

    It is both sad and frustrating that we elect these fat cats and then have no power to do anything about their greed and abuse. South Africa is almost 25 years into democracy now, and people living below the poverty line has worsened instead of getting better. One example ‘Nkandla’ Need I say more?

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  2. Bob

    Power, money, and greed run the planet. It has always been that way and has not changed. A little Love goes a long ways. Seek the truth and do not be deceived.

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  3. Pingback: Fight organized crime

  4. colltales

    Thanks for this, Russel. Please keep up. We need to vote; this may be our last chance to show that voting is still more powerful than money in politics. I share your pessimism about politicians, but there’s not much left for a working class person to do to influence government decisions. Best

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  5. Pit

    Hi Russel,
    Very thoughtful and, I’m afraid, quite close to the truth. But still, I’m in two minds about limiting terms. On the one hand, that would too often bring inexperienced people into positions of power. I still assume, you see, that even politicians can learn. Even if they don’t always draw on what they learn. And, on the other hand, limiting terms would only make the revolving door spin faster, thus bringing formerly elected politicians into positions of power behind the screens, from where they can’t be removed. To my mind, what the US needs is a different procedure of voting, so as to makie it much less likely for entrenched radicals of bith sides to be re-elected. But then, maybe I’m just daydreaming.
    Have a good one,
    Pit

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      When term limits first hit the scene here in California, I agreed with you. I don’t anymore. I don’t think anyone should get rich by being a career politician, i.e., on public money. If you want to serve the public, fine, we’ll let you do it for eight years. Then you have to go get a real job. It’s the only way these will see how the middle class lives. And even then, that’s questionable. Too many of them will probably become the Mitt Romneys of the world, specializing in destroying companies and their workers.

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      1. Pit

        I agree with you – definitely – that nobody should get rich being a career politician. But, considering how campaigns are financed here in the US, don’t you already have to be at least moderately rich to become one? And, like you said, it’s highly questionable if any politician, after giving up their office, will become a member of the middle class.

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