Monday, May 18, 2015

Bill and Hillary: Clintons Inc.

Clinton's Inc. earned $25 million the past year
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I normally go to my local coffee shop on weekend mornings and there I enjoy doing a crossword or two with friends.  We normally relax a bit and read the headlines before we settle down and get to work on the crossword. We are literally crossword nuts.

One of my friends there is a teacher. In fact, she gave us, us being her husband myself, and her, a name if we were to ever compete in a crossword or some sort of trivia contest. We are known as the Supercilious Posers.  My friend is an English teacher and we are aware that it’s not the most complimentary name for our team but we don’t care really; it sounds good., has a nice arrogant ring to it.

Anyway, I was reading the paper and my friend happened to mention that she has quite a few papers to grade, this was Sunday morning. There is another teacher that frequents our joint and I often see her grading papers over a cup of coffee on a weekend morning.

It sort of struck a chord with me at the moment because I happened to be reading about the Clinton’s wealth. There’s a lot about the Clintons and the Bush’s in the papers at the moment as both Hillary as a Democrat and Jeb Bush, the brother of George W. Bush, two cretins if there ever were any, are in the race for president of the USA.

The Clintons earned more than $25 million over the last year the WSJ mentions, not bad for a woman who claims she is a champion of the struggling middle class, (in the US that means working class). Last week I read that Bill earned $105.5 million from 2001 through 2012.  He earned that money giving speeches sometimes getting as much as $800,000 a speech. Hillary and Bill also earned $16.7 million in 2012.

Of course, they all do this.  After serving the 1% as president of their government, former presidents attract a lot of people who want to tap in to a good source of revenue, get a nice government contract or basically bleed the taxpayer a little.  And that includes heads of states. Obama will earn hundreds of millions when he’s done as will Ben Bernanke the former head of the Federal Reserve.  All these former bankers, lawyers, investors take this route after government service. The fed of course is not exactly government service as it’s a private institution.

Anyway, Bill Clinton has taken a bit of slack for continuing to earn millions of dollars giving speeches but being who he is he came out blasting. “I gotta pay our bills” he told NBC news earlier this month, “I work hard at this. I spend hours a day just doing the research. People like to hear me speak.”  Remember, he never had sex with Monica Lewinsky and he demanded from taxpayer funded attorneys a definition of the term, “sex”.

I would go so far to say that no one reading this blog has been to a Bill Clinton speaking venue so he’s not speaking to us. But that’s not what irked me.  $800,000 a speech for doing some research?  Ever heard of Google? I say that but I don’t even believe that this is the point, we all know they’re liars, it doesn’t phase them as they are the only political game in town. I am sure Bill has a whole host of people around him that do much of this work for him.

I know that research is hard work because I do a lot of it myself.  When I was active in my union and also part of a political organization I had to read whole books and articles and papers in order to give presentations on a subject, what we called “lead offs” and I am sure Bill does less research than I do and gets paid exorbitantly for it.  I do research every day in order to post to this forum, I spend 4 to 6 hours a day on this. So it’s not the research that people pay for, it’s access to the person and through that person access to money and influence in politics and our daily lives. 

Jeb P Bush is also on the money raising trail and his wealthy friends who got their dirty little hands in the public trough while Jeb’s brother was in the White House will cough up hundreds of millions of dollars. This alone speaks to the immense wealth that can be accumulated through political activity in the best democracy money can buy. Ambassadorships and other government posts are all given with future support in mind or as a result of past donor activity.

But we are supposed to believe teachers are destroying the education system and failing our children. How many times do we hear in the mass media that they get all summer off and that they get paid at the same time etc.  The reality for teachers is different. They not only give immense amounts of unpaid time they also spend a lot of their own money on supplies. They have to deal with children that come from broken homes, drug or alcohol plagued homes or just kids whose parents for whatever reason need a babysitter during the day. All the ills of a society in decline come in to the classroom.

Grading papers on a Sunday morning is what teachers do and they don’t get paid for it. Working people have the work ethic, not bankers and capitalists. A teacher’s contribution to society, just like a firefighter, social worker or any wageworker is far more valuable than the millionaires and billionaires who will be competing against each other for the opportunity to plunder the US treasury for the next four years.

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