Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 01 Sep '13 03:21 / 1 edit
    I was reading this the other day, and it stuck in my head. This is a quote from Franklin as he argued against paying legislators for their terms of office.

    "Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men, a post of honour that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is renders the British government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true sources of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the nation, distracting its councils, hurrying sometimes into fruitless and mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace.
    And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre-eminence, through all the bustle and cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate; the lovers of peace and good order, the men of fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers -- And these too will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation: for their vanquished competitors of the same spirit, and from the same motives will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.
    Besides these evils, sir, though we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we will find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations. And there will all always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them. Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every state and kingdom a constant warfare between the governing and the governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater the need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of the Pharaoh, get first all the people's money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants forever. It will be said, that we don't propose to establish kings. I know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government. It sometimes relieves them from aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among citizens, and that they like. I am apprehensive therefore, perhaps too apprehensive, that the government of these states, may in future times, end in a monarchy. But this catastrophe I think may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do now sow the seeds of contention, faction, and tumult, but making our posts of honor, places of profit.."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So is it possible to have a governing body that does not personally profit exist and be effective legislators?

    His comment about the governed rather having one rich tyrant than 500 is spot on. People would much rather strip wealth from those at the top and give it to one man than they would letting them keep the said wealth and power. I think it gives them a false sense of equality. Inwardly, we crave a king and I think people like Marx feed off this craving.
  2. 01 Sep '13 12:24
    Having leaders is ok but having the leaders profit from their position may be counter productive for our nation. Even if there was no pay for elected government officials, they would find a way of getting delayed kickbacks. These guys get huge sums of money for speeches when they get out of office. I doubt it was because they did such a good job and have much of anything to say. Who will police this?
  3. 01 Sep '13 12:50
    So how will they eat?
  4. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    01 Sep '13 15:31
    Originally posted by whodey
    I was reading this the other day, and it stuck in my head. This is a quote from Franklin as he argued against paying legislators for their terms of office.

    "Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force i ...[text shortened]... of equality. Inwardly, we crave a king and I think people like Marx feed off this craving.
    Congressmen have a salary of $174,000 per year. Do you really think that is the primary source of wealth for any of them?
  5. 01 Sep '13 16:23
    Originally posted by whodey
    I was reading this the other day, and it stuck in my head. This is a quote from Franklin as he argued against paying legislators for their terms of office.

    "Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force i ...[text shortened]... of equality. Inwardly, we crave a king and I think people like Marx feed off this craving.
    So the ideal candidate for office under Franklin's no-pay idea will be the likes of the Kennedys and Romneys (rich people) possibly heading up business enterprises that don't require those people to put in 8 hour days and that enable them to take off weeks at a time to attend Congressional sessions and other government functions. It's anti-democratic.
  6. 01 Sep '13 17:02
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    So how will they eat?
    Allowing for sustenance is not the same as profiting.
  7. 01 Sep '13 17:46
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    So how will they eat?
    I personally favor a system like jury duty. You get paid your normal wage and then when done go back to your job outside government.

    This would put an end to lavish retirement accounts and lawmakers opting out of Obamacare etc. In short, it would end the notion that they can dictate to a populace from which they are insulated and aloof. It is what needs to happen.
  8. 01 Sep '13 17:49
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Congressmen have a salary of $174,000 per year. Do you really think that is the primary source of wealth for any of them?
    As we all know, they obtain their wealth from various places once in power. For example, on paper Joe Biden is only worth a buck fifty, but he lives on a lavish estate with about 5 mansions and has a lavish retirement in the works. Also men like John McCain comes to mind who has more money than God. These men obtain this wealth various ways "legally" and all because they are in office their entire lives.

    Enough!!!
  9. 01 Sep '13 17:52
    Originally posted by JS357
    So the ideal candidate for office under Franklin's no-pay idea will be the likes of the Kennedys and Romneys (rich people) possibly heading up business enterprises that don't require those people to put in 8 hour days and that enable them to take off weeks at a time to attend Congressional sessions and other government functions. It's anti-democratic.
    I think it should favor educated people who are up to the task, so this would probably equate into economically mobile people, just like the Founders. Of course, that would be up to the voters.
  10. 01 Sep '13 17:54 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    Allowing for sustenance is not the same as profiting.
    Exactly. With every system there will be flaws within that system. No doubt, men and women will try to find ingenuous ways around any system implemented. If so, then they could be addressed via another Constitutional Amendment via 2/3 of the states, the same process that would be needed to fix the current flaws in the first place.

    Of course, progressives would just have us believe that there is no fixing the system and just stick our collective heads up our arse and ignore the injustice and corruption. So be it.
  11. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    02 Sep '13 12:05
    Originally posted by whodey
    As we all know, they obtain their wealth from various places once in power. For example, on paper Joe Biden is only worth a buck fifty, but he lives on a lavish estate with about 5 mansions and has a lavish retirement in the works. Also men like John McCain comes to mind who has more money than God. These men obtain this wealth various ways "legally" and all because they are in office their entire lives.

    Enough!!!
    So in your view career public servants are of greater suspicion than those who use their term in office as a mere gateway to a lucrative job as a corporate lobbyist?
  12. 02 Sep '13 12:24
    Originally posted by rwingett
    So in your view career public servants are of greater suspicion than those who use their term in office as a mere gateway to a lucrative job as a corporate lobbyist?
    Yes. Obamacare is a prime example. They should have to wade through the same poo they make everyone else wade through instead of opting out of it. That way they might think twice about making the private sector so miserable.

    Do unto others Rwingett. They did not do that.
  13. 02 Sep '13 13:30
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    Allowing for sustenance is not the same as profiting.
    So you do think representatives should get a salary?
  14. 02 Sep '13 15:40
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    Allowing for sustenance is not the same as profiting.
    Just for information:

    http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/senate_salaries.htm

    It needs adjusting for inflation to make sense, also, are those per diems only for days in session?
  15. 02 Sep '13 16:12
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    So you do think representatives should get a salary?
    I think a fair cost of living allowance can be calculated. I don't think it would be fair to penalize someone for holding office so give them an average of the last 4 years of income they have earned per year salary. No investment profits should be considered. Also their expenses are paid for for moving their families as well as special education considerations for their children. Aside from that, that is all they get. Of course any expenses pertaining to actual governmental/work costs would be paid as well.(they might need a new suit from time to time) No more expensive vacations for the whole family at the tax payers expense. It would be one step closer to weeding out the crooks as well as being a filter for attracting those with the best interests of the country at heart.