Years ago, I was good friends with a member of the Honduran Congress. I liked the guy. He came from a well-to-do family, but he still seemed to me like a regular Joe (or Jose, as the case may be). In fact, I was so impressed by him that I urged him to run for president of Honduras.
“Jose,” I said, “You ought to run for president. I’ll help you. And when you get elected, you can help end the horrifying poverty in this country and stop the wealthy from stealing everything in sight.
He literally looked at me like I had three heads. And he replied, “There’s nothing you can do for the poor -- if God wanted them to have money, He would have given it to them like he did us.”
And there you have, part and parcel, haughty and heartless -- the entire philosophy of the wealthy elite, summed up in a single sentence.
But please, oh please, do not think for one minute that Jose’s appallingly pecksniffian posture is confined to the “Banana Republics” well south of the Rio Grande.
The countries way down south may have cornered the market on bananas. But, the country stretching out way up north of the Grand River – the one-time working people’s paradise called the US of A -- has now become the preferred province of outright nuts.
As in the kind of wacked out weirdo wealthy nuts who have brazenly convinced themselves that because they have accumulated vast amounts of the coin of the realm, they now have some sort of divine right to rule the realm…
That the “lower classes” are a classless, useless lot…
And that the primary role of the “Haves” is to bleed dry the “Have Nots” – and then lord it over them in a wholly oppressive fiefdom-like scenario orchestrated by an all-powerful, out-of-touch government and manipulated by increasingly isolated and aloof career politicians.
Yet, as bad as that is, it gets even worse…
And here, alas, is the most pernicious part of the entire scenario:
The career politicians who now eagerly do the bidding of the wealthy elites are now firmly ensconced among the wealthy elites. In fact, in most cases, there’s not (quite literally) a dime’s worth of difference between the two. In many cases, they are one and the same.
As such, these wealthy elitist politicians are out of touch. And out of reach. They consider it their primary role to broaden the breech between the rich and the poor…
As they push their constituents ever further away – and pad their own pockets at the working people’s expense (or, the “peonage,” as they prefer to consider the rest of us).
Sound a bit harsh?
Well, think about it.
Think about the corrupt, callous career politicians who now hold the reins of power in Washington, DC – and hold their constituents in disdain And at bay. Who live the lives of the prosperous, pampered, and protected – while their constituents are left to fend for themselves with rapidly escalating prices and ever declining real wages (not to mention skyrocketing crime).
Simply put: the isolated, insulated, overpaid and underworked political class could care less what the average American deals with on a daily basis.
Because they, themselves, are now the sneering, snooty wealthy elite (think McConnell, Romney, Schumer, and Pelosi).
They cannot identify with you – nor, by any stretch of the imagination, do they want to!
Well, as you read the following overview of the Washington lives of the rich and famous, please keep this in mind:
The average American’s actual net income is $31,133 (and that is before the government rips off one-third in taxes). The median net worth of the average American family is $121,700. And the average American’s total savings account is a paltry $4,500.
Okay, let’s see how that compares with the wealthy political elite who have now cornered the market on greed and graft in the Washington Swamp…
Joseph Robinette Biden, a shameless career political grifter who has never held a real job in his entire adult life, admits to being worth $14,000,000 (not including payoffs from China, Ukraine, and under the son (pun intended)). And he has three mansions. All this, though his congressional salary for more than 40 years averaged only about $100,000 a year. Not bad for a numbskull.
The average net worth of members of the US Senate is $7,000,000. Plus they get annual allowances (office space and staff salaries worth about another $2 to $3 million a year). Not to mention discounted perks at Senate restaurants, gym, and barbershop – and, of course, all of the honoraria they can pocket. (Any of this so far sound like the way you live? Think any of these rapacious rogues really worry about grocery, gas, and utility prices? Think they really can – or even care to – relate to (let alone represent) the average America?)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has a net worth of $34 million. All honestly accumulated (wink, wink) on a congressional salary that for nearly 40 years feeding from the Washington trough averaged around $100,000 a year. (And, oh, by the way, the Amazing Mr. Penny Pincher Mitch was flat dead broke in 2008. Can you say crook?)
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who constantly reminds one and all that she speaks for the little guy -- makes old Mitch seem like a piker. Her net worth is $114 million. No wonder her $24,000 freezer is filled with Jeni’s designer ice cream – while most Americans can barely afford a Nutty Buddy at Jiffy Mart. (By the way, just in case you’re wondering, the average freezer at Lowes runs around $200.)
Here’s a run down of the net worth of the top ten members of Congress – see if you think that they have any idea in the world (or could really give a good damn) how you feel at the check-out counter):
Treasury Secretary Janet (“Oh, inflation is just transitory”) Yellon has a net worth of $20,000,000 – and rakes in an additional $2,000,000 a year take home pay.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome “Country Club Jay” Powell boasts a net worth of $55 million. To his credit, he only earns an additional $200,000 a year – which, of course, is still nearly seven times the average American worker (which means that while we are eating hot dogs, he is sucking down the filet mignon).
The average salary of a federal bureaucrat, by the way, is $107,000 per year – with every free benefit their union bosses can conjure up. So, that means the garden variety Washington paper pusher makes more than three times as much rolling out red tape as the average real world, work-a-day American makes producing genuine, marketable products. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?
Well, the bottom line is that we now have a bloated, gloating, posturing and preening, callous and uncaring political system staffed from top to bottom with grasping, greedy political hacks who bear not even the remotest resemblance to – and, in fact, utterly disdain -- the very people for whom they are supposed to be working.
Let’s face it: The fancy-schmancy political elites who send the maid to pick up their parcels at Nieman Marcus cannot really relate to the real work-a-day Americans in the Walmart world.
The fact is, of course, that they would not even deign to consider such a thing. And the further fact is that we no longer want them to try to shine us on and make believe they have even the slightest interest in doing so.
I think that pretty well sums it up, doesn’t it?
In short, they can go to hell in a handcart (or have their chauffeur drive them there).
So, what is the solution?
Well, maybe it is high time to tell the Washington Robber Barons to take the poverty Oath of the Fraticelli, at least until we can clean up the oppressive mess they have made of things. Or, how about a rock-solid share-the-wealth-and-power plan to make the political elite wish they had never even conjured up the term “equity”?
Stay turned for next week’s Clews Views column, when we will unveil the actual tri-partite solution (one part of which, BTW, Donald Trump had already enacted, Biden revoked, and The Donald has already promised to reinstate once he resumes his rightful place in the Oval Office).
And for those Swamp-dwelling politicians who too strenuously object to being forced to start living like the rest of us… Well, I have a special offer for them:
I will be more than happy to buy each and every one of them a one-way ticket to Honduras on Spirit Airlines and put them up in the chicken-coop-type shanty like the one where my wife was raised as a child.
Then, they can see for themselves what it feels like when Jose and the wealthy political elite there treat them like the dirt floor on which they sleep.
Turnabout, after all, is fair play.