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Old 08-10-2016, 08:07 AM
Status: "Puddle Brain for Re-elecion '24" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
28,027 posts, read 11,797,456 times
Reputation: 22434

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Blagojevich faces 8 years more in prison after judge sticks to 14-year term

Governor Blagojevich just had his bid to reduce his 14 year sentence rejected by a federal court judge. It is hard to have much sympathy for Rod Blagojevich, who was elected governor of Illinois as a reformer, He was sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to sell the Senate seat of former Senator Barack Obama to the highest bidder. There is no doubt that he was fundamentally corrupt and a disgrace.

However, my position is slightly different. While the current gubernatorial salary of $177,412 seems high, it really isn't in a state with a high cost of living, in the densely populated area from which he hails, Chicago. Add to that the expense of residing both at home and in distant Springfield, the capital. Government salaries are artificially low for several reasons. There is the obvious cosmetic problem of paying government officials high sums. And to some extent incumbents over the years don't want to attract challengers.

My view is that government officials should be paid amounts commensurate with what private executives of major corporations make, certainly, in a large state with a high living cost no less than $500,000. We want to attract the best and the brightest. Also corruption is virtually inevitable if large amounts of discretion is vested in relatively low-paid officials. I suspect that Blagojevich didn't have larceny in his hear when he started as a representative in Washington. I suspect that he and many others are driven by financial pressures and the relative lack of opportunities for extra income if that person is in public service.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
31,848 posts, read 15,716,931 times
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I agree with you that the salary is way too low, and I feel it's too low for the President, as well. I also think they shouldn't have some of the lifetime perks they get.

The area in Chicago in which he lived wasn't terribly expensive, and while in Springfield, our governors live in the Executive Mansion. I don't see any great expense involved.

His salary, even in IL, affords him to live a very nice life, even though I agree it's low given the scope of the job. But that's no excuse for corruption. If he wanted a higher paying job, he should have taken it and stayed out of politics.

The last thing IL needed was one more politician heading to prison.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:57 AM
 
Location: The Republic of Texas
78,882 posts, read 43,255,895 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
I agree with you that the salary is way too low, and I feel it's too low for the President, as well. I also think they shouldn't have some of the lifetime perks they get.

The area in Chicago in which he lived wasn't terribly expensive, and while in Springfield, our governors live in the Executive Mansion. I don't see any great expense involved.

His salary, even in IL, affords him to live a very nice life, even though I agree it's low given the scope of the job. But that's no excuse for corruption. If he wanted a higher paying job, he should have taken it and stayed out of politics.

The last thing IL needed was one more politician heading to prison.


There should be no salary/income for serving your fellow man. NONE! ZERO!
Government should never be in session all year around. 1/4 of the year to get government business done and go home to your constituents and work your job, you had before being elected.
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:09 PM
Status: "Puddle Brain for Re-elecion '24" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
28,027 posts, read 11,797,456 times
Reputation: 22434
I am within 100 pages of the end of Stevie Cameron's book about former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's government, called On the Take. When I finish I'll post more in What book are you reading? But I digress.

While Mulroney and his wife Mila may have been greedy, expecting Brian to honestly function as Prime Minister of a major country on a salary of $193,000 CDN (about $146,680 at then current exchange rate) is a bit much. That was less than first year lawyers were making during 1984-93, the Mulroney era.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:57 PM
Status: "Puddle Brain for Re-elecion '24" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
28,027 posts, read 11,797,456 times
Reputation: 22434
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
I agree with you that the salary is way too low, and I feel it's too low for the President, as well. I also think they shouldn't have some of the lifetime perks they get.
The lifetime perks came in response to Harry S. Truman's presidency. Up until he acceded to office it was rare that a person of modest means came to be President. He pushed for these benefits when his retirement seemed as if it was going to retire into poverty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
The area in Chicago in which he lived wasn't terribly expensive, and while in Springfield, our governors live in the Executive Mansion. I don't see any great expense involved.

His salary, even in IL, affords him to live a very nice life, even though I agree it's low given the scope of the job. But that's no excuse for corruption. If he wanted a higher paying job, he should have taken it and stayed out of politics.

The last thing IL needed was one more politician heading to prison.
The problem is that with the huge amount of discretion given a low salary tempts to corruption. That's a sad fact. For more, see "I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong" - Blagojevich.
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:19 PM
 
Location: The South
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If you pay them a huge salary, then it won't be exactly "Public Service".
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:52 PM
Status: "Puddle Brain for Re-elecion '24" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
28,027 posts, read 11,797,456 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern man View Post
If you pay them a huge salary, then it won't be exactly "Public Service".
I didn't say "huge" but does one really expect someone not to cut corners with a salary of $200,000 or less. Taking on that job involves maintaining two households. Further there is a large amount of discretion involved. I cannot condone his "sale" of a Senate seat but it should surprise no one.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
28,027 posts, read 19,656,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentBow View Post
There should be no salary/income for serving your fellow man. NONE! ZERO!
Government should never be in session all year around. 1/4 of the year to get government business done and go home to your constituents and work your job, you had before being elected.
In an ideal democracy, that's true. But it could only happen in Utopia.

But serving one's city, county, state or nation always comes with personal expense. It's only natural for those who choose to serve to ask for some compensation for those legitimate expenses, especially when those people are making all the financial decisions for the places and people they are serving.

No one can take a quarter of the year off for service with no recompense for the money they lost in wages. That's far too much to lose. It's also far too much time away from the work that brings in a person's income.

In many states, the state legislature does not operate year round. The elected legislators meet in a session that lasts a prescribed time- often around 90 days- in mid-winter, a time when crops don't need to be planted yet and business in general is slow.

2 or 3 months of citizen government is still going to cost our representatives a lot, as they all have to pay for a place to stay while in their Capital, and they have to eat, pay the bills that accumulate from their legislative jobs, and still pay all the bills at home, too. They have expenses going and coming from the Capital as well.

So asking anyone to serve for free will only dampen participation in our democracy. Only those who can easily afford the expenses and the time demands will ever run, so quickly, our democracy would become a game for rich men only.

Now, a rich man can always decide to serve for free, but a working man cannot.

Since they have the responsibility to decide what we all must pay to keep our governments working, demanding free public service is a guarantee of swift and deep corruption.

The hard thing is finding the delicate balance between public service as a duty or as a career. If the job doesn't pay enough, we will end up with no one but perpetual beginners who will make the same mistakes over and over again. If we pay them too much, we have a bunch of careerists who will all become more interested in keeping their job than serving the people they represent.

The real problem is the job isn't really very hard to do at its most basic level. All it really demands is a person's presence in the Capital chambers, in the committees to which they are assigned, and to vote when they are required to vote.
They don't have to do or say anything, all they have to do is just be there. Everything past that is optional.

So that's why there are always folks who want the job. It might not pay much, but they don't have to do much, and the job is usually done at times when other work doesn't need to be done. So for many, it's extra income.
For some, it becomes their main income. It might not pay a lot, but there are always other non-financial perks that can make up for the low pay. Even if the service was required to be done for free.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:57 PM
Status: "Puddle Brain for Re-elecion '24" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
28,027 posts, read 11,797,456 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
So asking anyone to serve for free will only dampen participation in our democracy. Only those who can easily afford the expenses and the time demands will ever run, so quickly, our democracy would become a game for rich men only.

Now, a rich man can always decide to serve for free, but a working man cannot.
This issue keeps coming up. See:
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Sigh.....Agnew was bribe-taking scum. No other way to put it. He was taking bribes from contractors that did business with the state of Maryland. Essentially, in order to get a contract, the contractor had to "kick back" about five percent of the sum of the contract to Agnew personally. The argument that "other people have done it too" doesn't fly with me. Taxpayers shouldn't have to tolerate crooked bribe-taking politicians. When this is discovered it needs to be rooted out.

In a sense, Agnew was worse than Nixon. As much as I disdain Nixon's breaking of the law, money or greed was not his motivation. Nixon had an idea that he had to protect his administration and reputation. Its still a wrong motive and does not justify crimes like obstruction of justice, but its not as bad a motive as taking money simply to become wealthier than you are.
See also my response:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
The bottom line is that unless the elected officials are serving after they've made their fortune, think Mayor Bloomberg, there are ample incentives for graft.

We, as lawyers, understand this well.
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