What gives rise to this kind of obliviousness among our nation’s politicians? Several factors. First, politicians at a national level tend to be wealthy above and beyond their six-figure salaries. At least 46 out of 100 senators are millionaires, with the number probably much higher. (It's impossible to know, because they're only required to report assets within a broad range.) The average net worth of President George W. Bush’s cabinet falls between $9.3 and $27.3 million. And all the 2004 presidential candidates and their running mates—Bush, Cheney, Kerry and Edwards—are worth in the tens of millions. Indeed, together with his wife, Kerry may be a billionaire.Now you see why they all fear public cmapaign fiance laws.
It's easy to imagine how hanging around with this crowd, Lieberman and ["man-dog-sex" Rick]Santorum might see themselves as the working poor. (Lieberman's opponent in Connecticut, Ned Lamont, is worth between $90 and $300 million.) And of course politicians don't just spend time with other pols—they know their peers who've gone onto to bigger and better things. Before retiring in 2005, Louisiana's John Breaux found it funny to joke he could barely afford a cup of coffee on a government salary. Now a lobbyist, he's increased his income by an order of magnitude.
Is there an answer to this problem? There may be, but first we have to recognize that it is a problem. As the commoners said during the English Revolution in the mid-1600s:It will never be a good world, while Knights and Gentlemen makes us laws, that are chosen for fear, and do but oppress us, and do not know the people's sores. It will never be well with us till we have Parliaments of Country-men like ourselves, that know our wants.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Millionaire politicians masquerade in Wal-Mart wardrobes
Aww, poor Joe Lieberman, he and his wife Hadassah can bearly make it on $366,084 a year. A good op-ed peice by Jonathan Schwarz posted at TomPaine.com