A friend posted this meme on Facebook this morning:
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: