Whine and Roses
Sometimes I wonder why our politics, screwy and baffling as they may be, all seem to end up in the same place, but I’d like to thank that mummified Stretch Armstrong, ex-Governor of California Arnold Schwarznegger, for clearing it up for me. (h/t TPM)
Poor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fresh off the end of his last term as governor of California, he told an Austrian newspaper that his time in office cost him at least $200 million in expenses and lost income that he could have otherwise made from acting.* (*CH: That’s what they call it?)
But don’t pity the former governor just yet. “It was more than worth it,” he said.
Whew. I was so worried. But seriously, the first time I became aware that, say, being Secretary of Defense or Governor of California were alright, except for the low pay was during the Reagan era, when numerous political appointees lamented the temporary “pay cut” they would have to take in order to, well, loot the treasury and give the money to their buddies. Talk about that famous inability to delay gratification that supposedly infects the lower orders. Now, such arrogant, selfish nonsense is the order of the day for all politicians, even the nominal “party of the people,” the Democrats. You see, salaries for government officials, quaintly, still bear a vestigial relationship to the America of yore, wherein the fact that the median income is around $50,000 is taken into account when setting the salaries of its higher officials. The private sector has long ago abandoned such antiquated egalitarianism, as it has any semblance of the oft maligned “meritocracy,” as Arnold inadvertently reveals.
Ever since the Class War ended (and you know who won…) crappy Hollywood actors, larcenous banksters, and halfwit media celebrities pretending to be journalists, among others, wouldn’t even get up in the morning if they were only paid as much as, say, the President, and thus are inclined to treat politicians as, if not total slackers, a bit addlepated. The recent discussion of Robert Gibbs departure as White House Press Secretary provided a drearily familiar example of this mindset; and entire panel of overpaid know-nothings mused that due to his disastrous two-year tenure in that post, he ought to be making in the tens of millions, failing up as they did to the never-fly-commercial set. All were horrified that he had heretofore been scraping by on a mere $176,000 annual salary; they spend more than that on tooth whitening and hairdos. They are also, clearly, as incompetent at performing their “jobs” as he is, so they naturally sympathized. Months earlier, we were treated to the spectacle of other cosseted “journalists” lamenting that $250,000 wasn’t as much as you’d think, either. What’s next? Andrea Mitchell devotes a full hour to the Servant Problem? The mind boggles.
The disconnect between the corporate and media elites who control the government and the great majority of the people they are intended to serve has been building for a long time, but it reaches a high point when utter failures like Schwarznegger (or George W. Bush, for that matter) have the audacity to whine that their idle and misbegotten forays into government “service” ended up costing them money they didn’t deserve in the first place, if their performances in their previous “careers” were taken into account.
And complaining about how much these misadventures “cost” them isn’t going to go over too big with the millions whose lives they destroyed along the way. Get over it, Arnold, even if California might not.