In the wake of the horrible facts coming out about former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, one pops up at me. How does a person who was a teacher, then a politician amass massive personal wealth?
I used to know Mr. Hastert and have had lunch with him. He was my congressman when I lived in Geneva, IL. I never would have suspected. We like to think the best about government officials that represent us.
All I hear from teacher’s unions is that teachers are woefully underpaid. Hastert received $34,000 in pension from from the State of Illinois In 2012, watchdog group National Taxpayers Union estimated Hastert was receiving around $66,000 in federal pension per year. I did the math a few years ago and it doesn’t look like they are in Illinois at least. The real bonanza in teaching is the guaranteed pension benefits that increase every year. School districts also mess with the last three years of teacher’s contracts (and administrator contracts) to really increase the amount of pension they will receive.
Personally, I would like to see teachers get their entire compensation package changed. I think under a defined contribution method they would actually make more.
Still, the way things are currently structured won’t make them mega millionaires that can pay $3.5M in hush money.
Hastert made his money in government, and after government. When he left office in 2007, he was worth between $4 million and $17 million, according to financial disclosure filings. The bulk of it being real estate. Was he a wily real estate speculator? Hardly, he took advantage of the system to buy real estate knowing full well that government would use eminent domain or public planning to make it increase in value.
Lots of government officials do that. This isn’t an isolated incidence.
Did you know if you work in Washington it’s legal to inside trade? Some of what happens could make a new movie like The Big Short. Believe me when I tell you, it wasn’t just Hillary Clinton raking in an easy $100k in Live Cattle futures.
Heck, Hillary and Bill get paid millions for speeches. Who wouldn’t want that?
After serving as Speaker, Hastert generated millions for himself as a lobbyist. Lots of people who were elected to office do that at both the federal and state level. The riches after being in office are so great it’s a decent incentive to get people to run. Harry Reid is leaving office a very wealthy man. At a certain point, it’s probably better to lose a race, just ask Tom Daschle.
Glenn Reynolds has advocated for a surtax. I agree. There also ought to be some sort of moratorium on lobbying for a number of years. Maybe equal to half the number of years a person was in public office. The shenanigans also should bring up the topic of term limits for Representatives and Senators. Maybe 6 terms for a Representative and 3 for a Senator. Presidents are term limited, why not them?
It is totally disgusting what Hastert did as a teacher and coach. It’s also totally disgusting that many legislators view government as a way to ring the cash register. Why do they want power? Not to help people-it’s to help themselves.
thanks for the link Instapundit