How America's presidents started cashing out


#1

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#2

Sooo - pay them more? $200K a year in the 60s or 70s went a lot further than today. Keep it the same and not worry if they are getting paid for speeches?

I don’t get how anyone could pay anyone that much to speak. Especially banks or businesses. Talk about a zero return on your investment. It has to be more of the nudge nudge wink wink washing each others back BS.


#3

Especially in the case of Hillary, who is still very much an active politician, “speaking fees” are a transparent euphemism for “bribes”.


#4

Could be worse. It could be a protection racket. “Pay my fee or I will speak here!”.
I am sure Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and GW Bush made a mint that way.


#5

Yeah, they’re not actually getting paid to speak, they’re being paid to listen.


#6

how do you become president? unless you have a megaton of cash you don’t even try to run a campaign …


#7

Why should the presidential pension get an inflation adjustment if regular citizens’ paychecks haven’t?


#8

Senator Sanders begs to differ.


#9

I find it hard to chide people for paying a lot of money to hear Bill Clinton speak when I think of the idiots they could be wasting that money on http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/on-talk-circuit-george-bush-makes-millions-but-few-waves-118697


#10

Well, they have. No one is making the same wages they were in the 70s. Especially other government jobs have a cost of living adjustment nearly every year (at least within the Dept of Labor.)


#11

Not only did Jimmy Carter not cash out.

When he was in the White House, he put his stocks, bonds, whatever, in a blind trust. Apparently that’s what Presidents do.

By the time he left office, the blind trust had tanked, and the Carters’ net wealth had plummeted.

I don’t have a citation for this information; I recall Carter acknowledging it during an interview on Air America, several years ago.

It was a strange interview. The interviewer brought up the “your blind trust tanked” thing, and Carter acknowledged the facts. I got the impression that the interviewer was needling Carter about it – taking a bit of schadenfreude in the matter – oh yes, you were President, but you lost a lot of money. Then – cut to commercials, and what do we get? An ad for Payday Loans, and an ad for second mortgages obviously pitched at desperate debtors.


#12

Why do we pay them at all? Being the most powerful person on the planet is it’s own reward. I suggest minimum wage.


#13

They also get lots of non-financial perks. Secret Service detail, etc. Maybe we should invoice ex presidents for that if they earn money after leaving office.

Oh, and from the link, did the Clintons really blow through 70 million dollars in 13 years?


#14

Ford joined the Fox board in 1981. In 1982 the top income tax rate dropped from 70% to 50%. In 1963 it had been 91%. Now it is 39.5%.

Buying government officials with fat salaries when they left office was darn expensive in the early 60s. Cost a plutocrat 10 million to bribe them with 1 million.


#15

Actually I’d like to see salary and pensions for the highest government positions tied to median family income.

Maybe the president gets 8x median (which would be around 400k), etc.

Something like that.


#16

Actually, we are going about it the wrong way. Post-presidency (post-Congress, post-upper civil service) speaking engagements, directorships, etc., are payments for services already rendered. When you are a Chris Dodd and you’re making a 7±figure per annum lobbying for the people you once legislated, trimming the pension isn’t going to have a serious effect.

Corruption is a lot more subtle these days than slipping the politico or civil servant a wad of cash or setting up a nice Credit Suisse account; it’s now “do the dirty” while ostensibly serving the public, and retire to nice “legitimate” income streams from the people you were supposed to be regulating. Much less easy to prove, much more amenable to a less obvious “Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we look after our homeys.”

If we want to cut down on this kind of revolving door corruption, make it a felony to take up a line of work on retirement that has anything to do with what the individual was called on to regulate (including paid speaking engagements), and make it for a period of at least 10 years after retirement. Do this for all the top echelons of government, legislature, executive, civil service, judiciary.

Beef up the pensions if necessary, but jail 'em and RICO 'em if they step an inch out of line. Do the same for their would-be employers.

Combine this with reform of campaign finances, and we might get public servants who actually are public servants. (I’m not American, so I’m not talking about just the USA - this crap is endemic throughout the Western world right now.)


#17

I actually don’t think it is. The sort of bank/business that pays for these speeches seem to be the type where there is so much money sloshing around that the major players have all of the things that they want. What they are trying to buy with these speeches is the feeling that they are important and worthwhile people with interesting ideas.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t any corrupting influence; it just isn’t so direct. When the pol’s spend so much of their time around these people they naturally start to identify with their new “peer” group. No one ever buys a vote, they just become the Senator’s buddy.


#18

James Earl Carter Jr.: you the man.

Fuckin’ earned his Prize.


#19

This won’t work, the Fortune-100 cover all industries and have a very tightly-knit web of board-membership. Same payout, different industry, no problem!


#20

Yeah yeah, the banks can spend $$$$ hearing Hillary say something, and if I screw up and over draft I am dinged $35, even though my check will be deposited literally within 24hrs.

It’s a waste of money. If you suggested taking that money for some employee function or give back to community, it probably would be branded as not a good use of money. (Though many businesses do have programs for both, including banks.) I agree it’s more of a vanity move and gives the higher ups a chance for a photo op with important people. I guess I pay $40 to say hi to an actor and get their autograph. This is the same thing only on a larger scale.