February, 2010

How Much Money is Enough?

The President of the United States gets an annual base salary of $400,000, plus a $40,000 expense account, a $100,000 travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. Unlike the rest of us, the base salary does not get used for the usual living expenses since they also get — home with many servants, vacation place, chauffeured limousine, Boeing 747, helicopter, and security staff.

After they leave office they still get paid about $190,000 per year, along with an office, $150,000 for office staff, and security staff for 10 years. Altogether Clinton cost taxpayers $1.2 million his first year out of office.

My best guess is that one would have to have a $10 million annual income to live the life style of our country’s CEO.

The concept of “comparable worth” suggests that; if fair compensation for the President is $10 million, greedy corporate fat cats, entertainers and athletes are being paid way too much at the expense of the people whose daily endeavors contribute to our national economy.

When encountering a man in the desert dying of thirst, one can apply the “whatever the market will bear” principle to justify selling him a glass of water for all he owns.

That may be “just good business” to some, but to me it is immoral and contemptible.

Our founders went to war with England because they taxed the colonies excessively. I can imagine people sitting around a table in London saying how it was just good business to maximize how much money they could get from the colonials. After all, England was in charge and thus deserved all they could get.

Our founders didn’t stand for it then, and we should not stand for it now. We need to heed the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi — “Commerce without Morality” is #4 on his list of seven deadly sins.

Morality is the foundation of a free society. We abandon that principle at our peril.

Rex A. Hoover