The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, November 22, 2019


Whether it's a senator, a senior cabinet official, or the President of the United States, the payoff that occurs as a consequence of holding a high political office comes after the person leaves office. For example, the Clintons themselves noted that they were "broke" when Bill vacated the White House, and despite the fact that neither Bill or Hillary held any meaningful paying job, their net worth 20 years later was in excess of $100 million! That's amazing and concerning. Part of the Clinton meteoric rise in wealth had to do with the exorbitantly high speaking fees that Bill collected as he traveled the world, escalating when Hillary became Secretary of State and then a presidential candidate. After all, big corporations and many countries look at speaking fees as a down payment on future influence—a "legal" way to payoff for past favors and guarantee an influential voice for future needs.

Now we learn that Barack Obama is collecting equally outrageous speaking fees almost immediately after leaving office. Jake Johnson reported in 2017:
Less than a year has passed since he departed from the White House, and former President Barack Obama has already joined the "well trod and well paid" Wall Street speaking circuit, a decision many argued will negatively impact the Democratic Party's credibility as it attempts to fashion a message around taking on corporate monopolies, tackling income inequality, and loosening the insurance industry's control over the American healthcare system.

According to a Bloomberg report published Monday, Obama has in the last month delivered two speeches to massive financial firms—Northern Trust Corp and the Carlyle Group—for around $400,000 a pop, and he is slated to attend a three-day conference hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald next week, for which he will make another $400,000.

I have a modest proposal. The Congress should pass legislation that limits speaking or "consulting" fees paid to any government official that makes over $175,000 per year to no more than $25,000 per engagement. This would include a business entity in which a government official has an interest. Details to be worked out.

Oh wait ... I'm asking the same guys who would benefit to do the right thing. Never happen.

Ka Ching.