14 June 2007

A Challenge for Presidential Hopefuls

© Chris Carlson / AP file

Mitt Romney is running for the Republican nomination for President here in the U.S.. According to this The New York Times story he is a very, very wealthy man - worth roughly $350 million (US). There is not much suprise in that since, as The Times also reports, none of the candidatates vying for either party nomination are hurting financially. A couple of weeks back Romney announced (you can look here too) that, should he eventually be elected President, he likely would donate the official salary (which is set by law at $4000,000 annually) to charity. That is an admirable thing. You might call it a nice gesture, I guess. It does suggest, though, a slightly distanced view of the economic reality in which most folks live.

So, I have a suggestion for Mr. Romney - each year you are in office keep the official salary and live on it while donating the annual income from all your business investments to charity. Indeed, I would lay that down as a challenge to any future president. Try to make ends meet on only four hundred thousand dollars per year (plus, of course the free room and board, staff, transportaiton, and so on!). My friend Susan Orr thinks they should have to try to make it on minimum wage but, being more compassionate, I think they ought to be able to take the salary that comes with the job. After all, the President's salary is dwarfed by that thrust upon many, many corporate CEOs.

Think about the implications. Such a policy would put the President "in touch" with regular Americans. like you and me. And it also would eliminate some of the immediate conflicts of interest that emerge when administrations seem to favor their business cronies in one or another way. Perhaps others already have offered this suggestion. It does seem a no brainer to me.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the tens of millions of dollars he receives in campaign donations? If anything pushes him to favor "business cronies" it probably is not via his personal income. Anyway, the benefits of being President well exceed 400K.

In any event, if something became orthodoxy among conservative Republicans, I'm sure Romney would do anything to accomodate it. After all, he's abruptly gone from pro-choice to pro-life, from relatively liberal on immigration to being one of the more hardened opponents in the top tier, become suddenly very against gay rights, and on and on. Wait a minute! I'm running in the Iowa caucus and not for governor of Massachusetts?! My positions are actually radically different than I've stated them to be... The fact that he does well in polls either suggests their irrelevance, or the irrelevance of the political process more generally.

14 June, 2007 01:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we're giving suggestions to the next President that obviously have no chance in hell of ever being followed, I have a few of my own:

(1) stop torturing people;

(2) stop killing people;

(3) stop building fences, walls and prisons;

(4) stop forcing the rest of humanity to bow to your will; and

(5) abdicate?

14 June, 2007 07:27  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Anon, I have no doubt the ROmney is hypocritical and opportuist. He is running for high public office, after all! And thincenties built into the primary system insure that he and everyone else will have to play to more or less extreme voters.

Jason, Now you really are asking the impossible! It sounds to me like you want to re-write the ob description entirely.

14 June, 2007 10:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Live on 'only' a White house salary and donate the rest sounds a fine idea. Indeed, such massive wealth should arguably be a reason to be barred from office, since such people are no position to represent the majority or have their interests to heart.

Other than that, I'd like to see this:

1) Find, imprison, or kill Bin Laden and all Al Qaeda operatives.

2) Stop Islamists from killing people

3) Stop Islamists from torturing and oppressing people, and planning mass murder

4) Stop Islamists from building social and psychological fences, walls, and prisons

5) Help Israel as much as they need, as the only civilised deomcracy in a barbaric Islamic region

6) Stop Islamists in their Jihadic campaign against the non Islamic world.

I would prefer to live in NYC, California, Houston, Colorado, or any other decent US place based on civil US society rather than the cess pit countries of the Middle East which the US is justifiably challenging. For all its faults - and it certainly has them - I am immensely grateful that the US is so massively dominant and powerful, when we are faced with hostility and violence from Islamic primitives who can neither understand nor accept the modern world.

I suggest Jason, you formulate in your mind a similar idea: where would YOU live? Where DO you live? And WHY? And that's not a call for any stars and stripes nonsense, it's just intelligent common sense when encountering a Jihadic hatred from others, from people so primitive they treat their own women like cattle (and then wonder why their worldwide community has failed, when they oppress half their own population!).

14 June, 2007 14:40  

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