"Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse." -- Adlai Stevenson
Oh, the horror. There are, according to Jim DeMint, "69.5 million Americans are dependent" on government. DeMint is nothing if not an old advertising guy, and big numbers are a good way of grabbing attention. He sees the all those people -- retirees, the sick, the disabled, veterans, children -- who receive assistance from the government as lesser human beings.
But, he is off by one. He "forgot" to include himself. He needs to make that number "sixty-nine million, five-hundred thousand and one."
Jim DeMint abruptly left his seat in the Senate to become head of the Heritage Foundation.
Well, Jim, welcome to the lesser human beings. Although, to be sure, you are getting a lot more than most of your fellow lessers.
Consider this. Members of Congress who serve five years or more who retire at 62 (that's it, just five years) have voted themselves pensions that start at what cannot exceed 80 percent of their final salary. If they retire at 50, 20 years of service are required. Average Congressional pensions in 2011 were either $40,000 or $70,000 annually, depending on the program.
The average social security payment is ~$15,000 annually.
Capisce, paisanos? Nice to be able to set your own salary and benefits, paid by taxpayers! This is one reason I wrote several years ago that Congress needed to eliminate its pensions and cut its own salaries.
Measured by the amount, Jim DeMint is far more "dependent" on government than you are. And, do not worry, the ole boy is not alone. We know from their tax return releases that Newtie and Santorum were also -- how did Alan Simpson put it -- sucking at the government teet. Come to think of it, so is Alan Simpson. Wonder what taxpayer-funded government pension he is sucking.
Now, it is true, that unlike the average retiree, DeMint is not truly "dependent" if that means, "cannot live without it." DeMint is socking away $1 million annually as head of the Heritage Foundation.
That is really taxpayer-funded too, although a bit indirectly. The Heritage Foundation, you see, is funded as a "charity," so that donations are tax-deductible enabling them to pay DeMint $1 million annually while the paisanos whose "dependency" he abhors have to make up the difference by paying higher taxes themselves. As the bulk of the money comes from big corporations such as ExxonMobil, whom the Heritage Foundation serves, consider it a form of corporate welfare.
Should we not end the sham that organizations (left, right or center) that exist to shape public opinion are not really what we mean by "charity," and that we should, at least, eliminate the deductability of donations? Perhaps, we should also say that no organization that pays anyone more than $250,000 a year can qualify as a "charity" under the tax law.
(While we are at it, one cannot turn on TV these days without seeing former radical right Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) extolling the virtues of "government-backed" reverse mortgages, and commenting about how "proud" he is to be speaking for the company. Wasn't this the pickup truck guy who just does not think that government has any role to play in the economy, and that we had to "get it out of the way"? Seems as if he is benefiting from corporate welfare as well. Shiver me timbers.)
So, here we have little Jimmy DeMint, railing against the people who actually need their earned benefits to survive, while he himself is taking much larger taxpayer funded pensions and is a beneficiary of corporate welfare to boot.
Anyone surprised? Perhaps, we should fashion a new word: "DeMinted."