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Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

What a Presidential Candidate’s Net Worth Reveals….

 

money-in-politics

 

Everyone says they want to elect an honest politician.  Bullshit.  You fucking hypocrites.

Rarely does a politician come around who hasn’t pigged out at the political trough and enriched themselves. One finally comes around in the 2016 race, and most of the electorate are busy shilling for millionaires.

Wake the fuck up, or quit bitching about dishonest politicians, and then re-electing them time and time again.

 

(Okay, so this was to be my lead in to the following article.  Now, I’ll try and be more civil and present a reasonable argument and play nice…..)

A $174,000-a-year salary sounds like a lot of money to most people.

Indeed, that’s a pretty good living.  But after federal and state taxes and living expenses are deducted, no one gets rich on that level of income.  Well, not unless you’re a United States Senator.

Please explain — how does an elected government official making $174,000 a year end up as a multi-millionaire?  How is that possible?  Of course, some senators and congressmen enter office already wealthy from their previous work in law or private industry, so let’s dismiss them.  I’m talking about a different class of people.  What about career politicians who have worked in government during their entire lives?  How do these dedicated “public servants” come out so well financially, while working for government wages?

Let’s take two career politicians — Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders — and compare them side by side.  Both are currently United States Senators from states with smaller-than-average populations.  Both have worked in government for most of their lives.  Both came to Washington at about the same time.  Both served in congress for approximately the same number of years.  Both are in their 70’s and share humble working-class backgrounds.  The similarities abruptly end there.

harry-reid-grumpyBy most accounts, Sen. Harry Reid from Nevada has a net worth of about $10 million dollars [SOURCE HERE].  Admittedly, he’s earned a slightly higher salary than the average senator, since he’s been in leadership posts for the past decade (first as Majority Leader, then as Minority Leader in the Senate — which pays $19,000 more per year).  But even $193,000 annually doesn’t compute.  The math simply doesn’t add up.  If we were to multiply all of Sen. Reid’s paychecks over the past 29 years (since he was first elected to office), the sum total amounts to about $4 million.  Even if Sen. Reid didn’t spend a cent on living expenses (try that) or pay a dime in taxes (don’t try that), if he banked every single dollar of every single paycheck in his political life, that would still account for only 40 percent of his net current wealth.

Hmmm.

[Side Note:  Sen. Reid lived at the Ritz-Carlton in Northwest Washington, DC for several years, one of the most expensive hotels in the city, while also juggling expenses on a $1.7 million home in Searchlight, NV.  He now calls the Anthem section of Las Vegas his official residence — those are some pretty impressive domiciles for someone making a $193,000-a-year salary]

Does this prove Sen. Reid is a crook?  No.  It doesn’t prove anything.  But it does raise serious and very legitimate questions as to how a career politician who’s so busy with the nation’s business, while also running for public office every six years, somehow manages to earn 150 percent more than his base income in investments over the course of three decades.  The typical American worker would be ecstatic to get back 5 or 10 percent as an annual return and would wash Reid’s dirty socks for that level of financial success.  Sen. Reid has earned what amounts to a whopping 150 percent consistently spread out over 29 years, even with two stock market crashes.  Sure, compound interest would account for some of his wealth.  Still, he must be the wisest financial guru on the planet.  Never mind The Washington Post.  Sen. Reid should be the poster boy for Fortune.

DEM_2016_Sanders.JPEG-0b5c0_c0-280-3687-2429_s885x516Now, let’s examine the personal finances of Sen. Bernie Sanders.  By most accounts, the Vermont senator’s net worth is about $700,000 [SOURCE HERE].  That’s about what one would expect for an educated professional living in New England who’s made a decent living over the past three decades.  So, what accounts for the ridiculous disparity of personal wealth between Reid and Sanders?  By my estimate, that’s a difference about about $9.3 million, minus whatever Sanders spends today at the Southwest Airlines terminal, jetting between campaign stops while wolfing down an extra bag of free peanuts.  Turns out, Sen. Reid is worth a whopping 14 times more what Sen. Sanders has accumulated.  Hell, even Mike Huckabee, the former preacher and expired presidential candidate is worth a whopping $9 million.  What happened?  Either Sanders is absolutely terrible with his money, or has a $500 a day coke habit, or perhaps there’s another explanation.

Maybe he’s just honest.  Imagine that.  A politician who does his job without the expectation of a kickback.

The facts are, “public servants” are grossly underpaid — yes, underpaid — unless one takes into account the accompanying perks and privileges of hoisting legislative power, which are obviously significant.  Given the outrageous compensation levels of CEOs when contrasted with the immense levels of responsibility for those elected to congress, politicians are entitled to higher salaries.  It’s this unspoken sense of entitlement, combined with all sorts of loopholes and sweetheart deals made in secret that make politics a very comfortable living for those willing play along and grease the gears.  Most play along, but a few don’t.  Stupid heroes.

<> on April 1, 2015 in New York City.

Sec. Hillary Clinton is another interesting case study in personal wealth and compensation.  She shares a similar background with her contemporaries, Reid and Sanders.  Sec. Clinton has been in public life for three decades.  She’s held important positions in government as both a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State (both pay about the same).  Yet, she also didn’t earn any income while First Lady, both in the Arkansas capitol and in the White House.  Hence, Sec. Clinton’s work history is considerably shorter than either Reid or Sanders.  One might expect then, her personal wealth to be somewhat modest.

Earthquake alert:  Hillary Clinton’s net worth is $31 million [SOURCE HERE].

Sec. Clinton makes Sen. Reid look like the owner of a lemonade stand.  Of course, there is valid explanation for most of her considerable wealth.  Sec. Clinton’s racked up millions in speaking fees, giving speeches to groups like giant Wall Street investment houses, for which she was paid big bucks.  By the way, we’re those transcripts supposed to be released by now?  Where are they?  Any word from the Clinton Campaign?  What makes a giant corporation pay a former public official (and aspiring presidential candidate) $250,000 or more for what amounts to a 20-minute speaking engagement?  That must be one helluva’ speech.  I don’t think you could put Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, and George Carlin into a room together and have it be a speech worth a quarter of a million dollars.  [HERE’S A LIST OF HILLARY CLINTON’S SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS AND FEES]

By the way, has Sec. Clinton released those speech transcripts from Goldman-Sachs yet?

Everyone knows the truth, but few are willing to say it.  Speaking fees have become the new graft of American politics.  These and other perfectly legal enticements and hidden loopholes, combined with the revolving door spinning perpetually between elected office and well-paid positions awaiting ex-politicians as lobbyists or on do-nothing executive boards has caused incalculable levels of animosity.  Our populist resentment, distrust in government, and mass cynicism are entirely justified.  But our anger is poorly channeled.  As candidates, most politicians made pledges to fix a broken system.  Then, once they’re in office, the money trough becomes way too tempting not to dive in and pig out.  What do we do?  We re-elect them to office.  Stupid us.

The record is perfectly clear as to which politicians are part of a serious problem which has become the nation’s political cancer.  It’s just as clear which presidential candidate is above this mess, hasn’t sold himself out to corrupting influences, and has proven for his entire life to be an earnest public servant working for the common good.  He’s the one trumpeting campaign reform and doesn’t take money from power brokers.

That candidate is Bernie Sanders, who might not be wealthy in dollars, but is immensely richer in trustworthiness and character.

 

2 Comments

  1. Clinton is a disease. Just that simple. Anyone who votes for her deserves to spend eternity in that “special place in hell” she and her idiot pals were laughing about the other day.

  2. I’ll toss in $1k for Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, and George Carlin in the same room together.

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