The system is broken

Did you know?

A friend posted this meme on Facebook this morning:

Bob Corker

I can explain that.

I had U.S. Senator Phil Gramm as my Economics 301 professor at Texas A&M University in Spring 1976. At that time, he was Professor Phil Gramm. He was 34 and had a tenured position at $125,000 annual salary.

He went into politics in 1978 and retired as a U.S. Senator in November 2002. Twenty-five years in politics as a United States Congressman and then  United States Senator. Newspapers throughout the nation reported that he was retiring with $64 million in his “campaign war chest.” He got to keep that. Didn’t have to turn it over to the federal or state government, and I didn’t get a nickel back of my many financial contributions over the years.

So let’s do the math:

Tenured salary from age 34 to 65: $125,000 x 32 years = $4,000,000.

Politician: 1978-2002. Campaign war chest: $64,000,000. Excludes 24 years of salaries as U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator, and excludes annual retirement salary.

See how that works?

Now you know why rich people like the Kennedys, the duPonts, and my own rich-now-career-politician Darrell Issa, and so many others, go into politics. They have no desire to serve the public. Their only desire is to get even wealthier than they already were, get great health care courtesy of the government, and only have to work half the year. Of course, I have a different definition of work.

The system is broken, and has been broken for a very long time. The only thing we can do, in my opinion, is do away with career politicians. If eight years is good enough for the presidency, it should be good enough for all other political positions.

Many would argue for term limits. That’s almost a fix, but not quite. Here’s why: We have term limits for many city, county, and state positions here in California. Not federal positions, though. Most of the term limits are for eight years. Here’s how career politicians work the system:

Russel Ray is elected to the City Council and serves eight years before being termed out.

No problem. With name recognition, Russel Ray is elected to the County Board of Supervisors and serves eight years before being termed out.

No problem. Still with name recognition, Russel Ray is elected Mayor of San Diego and serves eight years before being termed out.

No problem. Now with experience governing a major city, Russel Ray is elected to the California House of Representatives and serves eight years before being termed out.

No problem. Now with state-wide name recognition, Russel Ray is elected to the California State Senate and serves eight years before being termed out.

No problem. Russel Ray runs for the United States House of Representatives but since this is his first federal election, he loses to the incumbent.

No problem. The next year Russel Ray is elected back to the California House of Representatives and serves four years before running for the seat of the retiring United States Congressperson whom he lost to four years earlier. He is elected. Many politicians lose the first time they run for a federal office, 90% of the time to the incumbent. Not until the incumbent retires does someone else inherit the office. Now Russel Ray is in a federal position, which has no term limits, until he decides to retire.

See how that works?

There’s not a single politician willing to fix the system because that would mean voting themselves out of extremely well-paying jobs with great benefits. Regardless of party affiliation, why would they do that? It reminds me of another meme about the current administration of morons governing America:

You're a special kind of stupid

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

23 thoughts on “The system is broken

      1. Pit

        As Gallivanta said, “Not an easy fix.” 😦
        What I keep wondering about, though: Why is it that in Germany the system without fixed terms works so much better than in the US?! Definitely not perfect, I agree, but way better.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Pit

            I should have explained myself better, Russel. And used the correct word. Sorry.
            What I meant was that in Germany we have no term limits for our Representatives in Parliament, but, even though, not the excesses of them enriching themselves as it seems to be the case here in the US.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Albert Moyer, Jr

    I do believe many politicians enter with a good heart just like school teachers, but along the way you get pulled aside with the gun(figure of speech) to your head and you are told this is how it will be. If every good hearted person did exactly what was in their heart, well, I do believe we would need a lot more graves. Reality! It sucks. Most of us just learn to navigate it with a grimace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Probably. I think that’s why many of the wealthy have become politicians. However, I think it’s got worse after World War II when televisions became common household items. And now, with the 24/7 Internet, Citizens United, Russian trolls, etc., it’s probably the worst it’s ever been.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. disperser

    Not sure why my subscription to the blog went away . . . resubscribed now.

    As for the system, you’re leaving out what essentially amounts to inside knowledge of stuff that will happen . . . and the ability to funnel work to one’s family and friends. What would be a conflict of interest for the rest of us, is “how things are done” in government.

    Liked by 1 person


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