There appears to be a new affliction making the rounds of some groups
in America. We are only waiting for the big telethon fundraiser to help
There is no official name yet but the disease strikes
people of power and money and leaves them tone deaf to the struggle of
regular citizens, often while claiming they are “just like you.”
Here are some of the sad recent cases:
- A professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law was paid $200,000 per year to teach one class… on poverty.
Elizabeth Warren is now a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who talks
routinely about the inequality of the American economic system.
Previously she had been a professor at the Harvard Law School where she
was paid $350,000 per year to teach one class and then was able to go
home to her $2 million mansion.
- The former head of the failing
Philadelphia school system was paid $350,000 per year before she was
fired. She then collected a $1 million severance package and filed for
- Best-selling author James Patterson recently
weighed into the ongoing dispute between Big 5 publisher Hachette and
online retailer Amazon by saying the big publishers have an obligation
to lower than number of published authors, despite the fact thousands of
independent presses have made it possible, with Amazon’s help, to
provide authors the opportunity to write full-time. Patterson’s last
contract, with Hachette, guaranteed him $150 million for his next 12
- Chelsea Clinton, who the country watched grow up in the
White House while her father was President, sits in a $10.5 million
condominium that overlooks Gramercy Park where she lives with her
investment banker husband. Recently she was quoted as saying she had
tried but she just found it “impossible to care about money.”
The disease is even more horrifying when it is seen in our country’s politicians.
Several Bell, California employees gave themselves huge raises that
nearly bankrupted the little suburb of Los Angeles. The city manager was
making $800,000 per year and had a $1 million per year pension fund set
up for himself before the lawsuits started and some of the officials
were given jail time.
- Rep. Eric Cantor recently lost his
re-election bid to the U.S. House of Representatives for Virginia to a
relatively unknown candidate who successfully campaigned by describing
Cantor as a man who had lost touch with the constituency. On the day of
the election, Cantor, whose district is only a 45-minute drive from
Washington D.C., reportedly was spotted in a Starbucks in Washington
with political lobbyists rather than being with the voters.
finally, in perhaps the saddest case of all, former First Lady and U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed she and President Bill were
broke when they left the White House in 2001. However, in 1999 they
purchased a house in Chappaqua, New York, for $1.7 million and in 2000
bought another home, this one for $2.85 million on Embassy Row in
Washington D.C. That same year she received nearly $3 million from Simon
& Schuster for royalties on her book while Bill was charging
$125,000 for half-hour speeches around the country.
tongue is planted firmly in our cheek when we say the disconnect
between these high-profile people and the plight of middle class
Americans since the economic downturn is a disease. But it does reflect a
clear lack of understanding about how hard it has been for some people
to take care of their kids, perhaps save a little money for college
tuition or retirement, all while worrying about whether or not they
would have a job the next day. That point is driven home every time
someone like Hillary tells The Guardian (June 2014) she and her husband
are not “truly well off” when their current net worth is estimated to be
around $150 million. It is especially egregious when the offenders are
our elected officials.
Voters would do well to remember that this fall during the election season and on into the 2016 Presidential campaign.