Tag Archives: phil gramm

Why I don’t donate money anymore—Part 1

Opinion

I was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas….

Deep South Texas.

A bastion of Republican citizens.

Still is.

Great Nation of TexasI was arch-conservative until 1993 when I escaped the Great Nation of Texas and, after 22 days on the road looking for a place to live in one of those 49 foreign states, wound up in San Diego.

I had been politically active since 1972, my junior year in high school. I even donated a few dollars of my allowance savings to the campaign fund for Richard Nixon. I kept volunteering time and donating money through 2002, Republican candidates through April 1993 and Democrats from 1993 to 2002.

So what happened in April 1993 and in 2002?

In April 1993, after arriving in San Diego and deciding to stay, I starting working for Democrat candidates donating money and volunteering my time to make calls and work on campaigns. I still was a registered Republican, thinking that I would try to work within the Republican system to change it. That never worked. It wasn’t until 2013 that I finally switched my registration from Republican to Democrat.

Texas A&M UniversityWhat happened in 2002 started in Spring 1976 when I was a junior at Texas A&M University.

One of my required courses was Economics 301. My professor was Dr. Phil Gramm. (Google or Wikipedia him for more detailed information than what I will provide in my measly little blog post here.) He was a tenured professor making around $75,000 per year.

Gramm resigned his tenured professorship at Texas A&M University and went into politics. He lost his first election in 1976 when he ran as a Democrat against popular U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, also a Democrat. He decided to start smaller, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, as a Democrat, being re-elected in 1980 and 1982. He was what now is called a DINO, a Democrat In Name Only. The American Conservative Union (ACU) gave Gramm a score of 89 for his first four years in office. That’s extraordinary for a Democrat. Usually the ACU score for Democrats is well below 50%, and during any year averages about 10%, with most of them getting a well-deserved score of 0%. For comparison, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, often gets a 100% rating.

Due to differences with the Democratic leadership in the House, Gramm resigned from Congress on January 5, 1983. He then ran as a Republican in the Texas special election to fill his vacated seat. He won. Gramm became the first Republican to represent the Texas 6th District since its creation in 1846.

In 1984, Gramm was elected U.S. Senator from Texas, as a Republican, and served in that position from January 3, 1985 to November 30, 2002, being re-elected twice.

When Gramm retired, newspapers throughout the world announced that he had $64 million in his campaign war chest. He got to keep that money. Did not have to turn it over to the State of Texas or the U.S. government. Did not have to return—indeed, DID NOT return—any of it to those who had donated to his campaigns throughout the years, or to his constituents as a “Thank you for your support all these years!”

One person who donated consistently to his campaigns was yours truly. I got not a single cent back. It was that $64 million that resulted in me having never ever ever contributed another cent to a political campaign. I have volunteered my time, but not a single politician at any level is getting a penny of my hard-earned cash.

You can easily see the benefits of running for election, raising lots of money, and losing. You have to lose or retire, though. Another caveat is that the money has to be for a specific campaign. If you were a Senator but ran for President (Bernie Sanders, 2016), you had a presidential campaign war chest. If you lost the presidential campaign, the money in the presidential campaign war chest is yours to keep. The money in the senatorial campaign war chest had to remain there because you still were a Senator. All you have to do to verify this is look at Sanders’ tax returns since he released them in his latest campaign for president.

If Gramm had continued as a tenured professor at Texas A&M University through age 65, his salary with no raises would have been $2,126,300. As it was, he retired from politics at age 60 with $64,000,000, an annual salary of about $150,000, and great health benefits. Now you know why even rich people (Darrell Issa, net worth over $250 million) go into politics. They don’t give a crap about you and me. They are in it for the easy money and the power that comes with money.

Yet people continue to ask how Congresspersons and Senators become millionaires on their measly six-figure salaries….

Part 2 tomorrow.

Fight organized crime

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

Fight organized crime

My rant for the political season

Ever wonder why rich people get into politics? I used to, but no more.

When I was a junior at Texas A&M University, Phil Gramm was my Economics 301 professor. He was tenured at the time but left in 1978 for public office, eventually becoming one of the two United States Senators from Texas. When he decided not to run for re-election, I read that he had a campaign war chest of $64 million, which he got to keep, and after only 17 years as a Senator and 23 years in public office. He would never have made $64 million in 23 years as a tenured economics professor. Even Nobel laureates don’t make that kind of money.

Therein lies the secret to politics. It’s not about serving the public. It’s about making money, either through that campaign war chest, various benefits (sometimes illegal) as a so-called public servant (see San Diego’s own Duke Cunningham), or the money that comes afterwards through all the connections made while in politics (see Newt Gingrich).

Here in California we have term limits on many public offices, something that I’m highly in favor of. Unfortunately, when someone is “termed out of office,” all they do is go run for a different office. And because they have name recognition and money, they often win. When they are termed out of that office, it’s on to another office. And round and round we go….

I think there should be no such thing as a career politician. That’s where the problem is. If you want to take a break from your regular job and serve the public, great. Go do it. But don’t expect politics to be your road to riches. Two, four, or six years, and that’s it! Go back to your real job. Make it so that people have to take four or six years off before they are able to run for another public office. If they want to continue serving the public during those years, well, anyone can volunteer for just about anything. Let’s have some new people with new ideas.

If two terms is good enough for the President of the United States, it should be good enough for anyone.

Career politicians are nothing but organized crime, but we can….

Fight organized crime

blank paragraph

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat