I have spent some time studying the political system here in the good old USA, and have come to some conclusions:Let’s start on the local level, with… let’s say you want to be a County Commissioner in a relatively small suburban county in Anywhere, USA. First of all, you can plan on spending several thousand dollars of someone’s money to print up posters and flyers, and plan on spending a few dollars on renting a campaign headquarters. Someone has to pay for your run as a politician, and most likely it is some rather well off individual in the county with whom you feel close and who likes you and your ideas. That someone is very happy when you win the election, and a few months into your office they call you with a rather strange request to favor someone with whom they are friends with, or have business dealings with. To just vote favorably on this request costs you nothing, and for the most part doesn’t cost anyone in your district anything, but the business venture is profitable and your friend and his friend have made money from your decision to vote favorably.
Your next election is just as easy to win since there are no major upsets in your district and most everybody is happy going to work every day and living life as normal. Another favor is requested, and this time the vote would favor a friend of your friend, and this friend has promised to do a lot of business with your business, so in a round about way, this profits you, however indirectly. All of a sudden, your net worth has gone up and you are living a better life. This happens time after time, and your real business starts to grow exponentially while you serve your fellow county neighbors. You even bought a piece of real estate at a real bargain, just after you voted to allow a big developer to build his new development right down the street. That piece of property has gained in value BIG time since construction has begun. Of course few in the county know about this, but really, it is none of their business.
Now your friend approaches you and asks you to run for state representative and offers to help fund your run. Having been such a well-respected county commissioner and running a good, clean campaign, you win easily to represent your fellow neighbors at the State level. This position is mostly ho-hum, except for a few votes that you got a call about from one of your backers, and which you gave much consideration to before you voted in their favor. That really helped them a LOT and they contributed to your re-election campaign. After a couple of terms at the State level, you have a pretty good war chest and you decide to run to be a US Representative.
You find favor among some pretty rich businesses and individuals who like you and your message, and they contribute heavily to your political run and having so much money to spend you were able to saturate the airwaves in your district and won by a pretty healthy margin. On your first day in office, you were visited by one of the directors of a non-profit company and given a position on the board of directors for this non-profit corporation. It is a good corporation and they mostly give out scholarships to bright young people, and you have a couple of bright young individuals in your district that deserve a good helping hand on their college tuition. This is a paid position, but requires little time, so it is not a conflict of interest to your seat in office and you are happy to serve.
Over time, you are offered several of these positions, serving on the board of directors on these non-profit corporations, and it is rewarding financially as well as rewarding for those deserving students in your district. It is good that the X-EAZY Corporation donated heavily to one of those non-profit corporations, and they were able to give you a raise. You were also able to get a full ride scholarship for your nephew because of this generous donation. The X-EAZY corporation was really happy because of your vote on a bill that favors their company. Of course this was not reported as a campaign donation, or as a direct payment, since your money was earned as being on the board of directors of a non-profit corporation. You have noticed that the ones that involve the Environmental issues always seem to donate more into your re-election campaigns and also your non-profit corporations, so environmentalist type votes are always in their favor.
You are now doing pretty well, financially, as a business man, with your personal business at home, and by serving on the board of directors of these non-profit corporations. Both of your children have guaranteed scholarships to the best universities, you are able to invest more heavily in real estate in your district, and it is good to have a little preview at the overall development of the county so you can buy property that is guaranteed to rise in value. All the while, you continue to vote in ways that favors your constituents and are able to bring back monies to your district that benefits everyone.
As time goes on, you are able to buy that mansion that you always dreamed of, and your grandchildren now have scholarships at Princeton, Yale, and Harvard, even before they start school. Life is good. You love the American Dream.
Does anybody else see where the problem is with this scenario?
Do you now understand why politicians don’t care if you cut their salary, or their benefits, like retirement?
Do you even care?