Ah yes, the return from a long family vacation is so blessed especially when one’s hobby is blogging about American political theatre.
So GOP nominee Willard Mitt Romney has told Neal Boortz’ national syndicated radio audience that he believes that his Presidential pay should be judged on how well he does his job.
Well it didn’t take long before the sane people at Thinkprogress.com were able to link the story to a Saturday Night Live skit performed by Dana Carvey as Ross Perot, effectively mocking Romney’s idea.
However, a presidential paycheck should seem more like a gratuity for someone of Romney’s wealth.
To say that the presidential paycheck has not grown with the cost of living is an easy joke.
George Washington was to have received $25K salary as President, yet turned it down. Why? Was it because he knew the newly founded country was broke? Nope, it was because he already had a sweet stash of cash.
Between 1969 & 2001, the presidential yearly paycheck was $200K and then on January 1, 2001, it doubled to $400K plus a $50K expense allowance.
A millionaire in his own right, if elected, Romney would become the richest president in history, before and after service. For example, in 2010, Romney listed his Adjusted Gross Income as $21 million, yet his complete net worth has been noted to be somewhere around $125-$147 million.
Last year, the Huffington Post ran an article listing the net worth of all 44 Presidents, of the last 6 Pres Clinton is worth the most.
Pres. Jimmy Carter- In 1977, before entering the White House, Carter listed his Adjusted Gross Income close to $189K and within his 4 years of service (Earning $200K/yearly) left in debt. Kind of a mirror as to how he ran the country at the time, however he is currently worth $7 million.
Pres. Ronald Reagan- In 1981, Reagan’s AGI was near $418K and according to Huffington Post, Reagan is now worth an estimated $13 million. Reagan’s past as a GM Spokesperson and book royalties helped his retirement.
Pres. George HW Bush- In 1989, the Bush patriarch whom spent much of his adult life in public service in one form or another listed his AGI near $456K. After leaving office, HW’s net worth jumped towards $23 million thanks to many investments.
Doing the research up to Pres. Bush was ridiculous thanks to the fact that no one cared about a candidate’s personal finances or tax returns until the age of the 24 hour news cycle and the avalanche of Special Interests.
Pres Bill Clinton- As Arkansas Governor, Clinton earned a pathetic $35K salary, but he happily admitted how he enjoyed living off the perks of the jobs (insert your own jokes) and in 1991 listed his AGI at roughly $290K. However at the time, the Clinton’s combined net worth was just below $700K, thanks to Hillary’s law income and some shrewd investment practices.
One can say the Clinton’s used every bit of Bill’s popularity at home and abroad to grow their net worth to the sum of $38 million, largely from his overpriced lectures and massive book royalties.
Pres George W Bush- After struggling through poor investment and business ventures, “W” was able to build his financial worth through perseverance as oil investments rose and a group venture that bought MLB’s Texas Rangers that paid him handsomely when he sold his shares of the team.
“W’s” 2000 AGI was listed just above $894K with a family net worth between $11-$29 million and currently a net worth of $20 million, which if he goes forth with more speaking engagements should grow upwards near $30 million.
Pres Barrack Obama- In 2007, he listed his AGI around $2.6 million, which a large majority came from book royalties and has a current net worth of $5 million. One can only speculate how high the Obama’s net worth will grow once he leaves office in either 2012 or 2016, depending on the results of this year’s election.
So exactly how much the Romney’s will gain from this candidacy and/or possible presidency could be a massive windfall.
Yet Romney’s statement about how his pay should be judged upon performance is typical CEO speak, as many current CEO’s are taking a $1 salary, yet receiving millions on stock options.
It’s a gimmick that has been accredited to Lee Iacocca in the late 1970’s
When Iacocca took over a dying Chrysler, he created a buzz by stating he’ll take a $1 salary so he could mock the over-reaching Auto Workers Union and get millions in Federal loans. However, Iacocca was receiving stock options on the side and by 1986 Chrysler’s stocks skyrocketed to which Iacocca received a sweet $20 million paycheck.
More recently, Ford’s William Ford, Jr decided he wouldn’t receive a paycheck while at the helm between 2000 & 2006, yet received over $10 million in stock option compensation during that timeframe.
So, once again I ask, what does Romney have to gain by his statement?
It wasn’t too long ago that Romney sat amongst a group of constituents and exclaimed “I’m like many of you, I’m currently unemployed.” There’s a huge difference between the struggling unemployed and an unemployed millionaire.
That’s it, pass the unsalted peanuts and “Slap the Tap” and pour a 16oz Guinness in honor of NYC Emperor Mike Bloomberg. Time to pay the political tab