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Pay politicians more. A lot more.
Pelosi should make millions.
We should pay our politicians more. A lot more. Here’s why:
Politicians should be among our best and brightest.
We should incentivize executive and fiscal leadership.
They will make money anyway; we may as well account for it.
In the quiet hours of the night, as my girlfriend gently falls asleep and I silence Netflix, I’m left only with the still night air and my thoughts.
My mind wanders into the realms of the unconventional. A world where the reality of human behavior outweighs the soul-sucking distortion of popular opinion.
One thought stands out with a mix of defiance and clarity.
Elected officials should be among our best and brightest. And they should be paid as such.
Pay politicians more. A lot more.
Elected officials at any level should be paid more. Senators should make $1-2 million annual salaries. Mayors of our major cities should make $500k+.
1. Politicians should be our best and brightest.
Today, the path of a politician is viewed with a blend of suspicion and disdain. Imagine a child no older than 10 telling you they want to go into politics when they get older. What is your response?
Respect? Encouragement? Hardly, I suspect.
Yet, the essence of public service is noble — a calling for brilliant minds to steer the helm of a city, state, or nation through turbulent waters.
Shouldn’t, then, this path have the honor and desirability that attracts our best and brightest? Shouldn’t, then, we pay them as such?
Tomorrow, the path of a politician might be a noble one met with affirmations and applause. Leading a township, city, state, or our nation might be as aspirational as leading a hot startup or a major corporation.
By changing the pay for politicians, we stand to change the culture around being a politician.
2. We need executive leadership.
Today, politicians are masterful. Masterful at spinning the narrative. Masterful at analyzing polling data to inform their beliefs. Masterful at staying in power.
Politicians tend not to be masterful at executive decision-making or financial leadership. Yet, is that not exactly what we need?
Tomorrow, politicians might be masterful leaders pulled away from comparable leadership roles within our most important corporations.
3. They will make money anyway.
Today, politicians make money through the revolving door of board seats post-retirement and by insider trading.
Bill Gurley’s recent talk shares his front-row account at the revolving door. Projects like Unusual Whales and Polosi Tracker shine a light on the seeming criminal returns generated by so many elected officials.
Are you enraged by this? I am.
But, for a moment, let’s suspend our rage to consider the underlying cause.
Pelosi makes ~$225,000 per year in Congress. Would you agree, given her competence and clear drive to win (stay in power), that this is a fraction of what she would make in a legal or corporate role?
I would say her salary is ~1/10th of what it would be in another career.
So, perhaps Pelosi feels underpaid… Because she is. Relative to the stability and leadership she (in theory) brings to the US government and our citizens, I think she is criminally underpaid.
Tomorrow, elected officials might not feel pressure to trade on insider information. They might not feel pressure to join boards of companies to give corporate interests an inside line to legislation.
Maybe, tomorrow, elected officials will be among our best and brightest. And maybe they’ll be paid like it.
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