Friday, January 20, 2012

House Cleaning at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

As I continue to explore the possibility of a Presidential Campaign, I must say, if we Americans want to do anything besides cry "Foul" at the other party, we need a non career politician involved. Is it even possible, at this point to have anyone that believes in moderation? And by moderation, I'm not suggesting flip-flopping or wishy-washy, I'm talking about someone that is not "in your face elitist" while calling it transparency or someone of authoritarian hypocrisy. Surely, we want more for our country than that. Maybe our country is having some economic hardships, because not only have we forgotten all about paying as you go, and embraced "entitlements," but we have leaders who enjoy their entitled amenities as well. If I were elected president, I would begin cleaning up the White House expenditures, first. I realize there is certain protocol already in place and that's fine, but there is a lot more that could be trimmed and changed. The President, of course, lives rent free in the White House, and can enjoy the amenities of Camp David at no cost. Blair House, as I understand it, is 70,000 sq. ft. of four connecting townhouses also available to the President for guests or per his/her discretion. We've all read about the Presidential State Car and although I didn't see it in the list, there is the big bus now also, as well as the Presidential plane, Air Force One, and the private helicopter for his use, dubbed Marine One. Then there is the White House staff and Secret Service . . . and all of these are for the convenience, safety, comfort, and efficiency of the President and the first family. With all this available, I mean it's not like a president has to fill these tanks themselves, so why are the following figures needed?
The President receives an annual salary of $400,000.00. This was approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton to become effective the first year of the next administration. Let us not forget that both this administration and the previous one are each members of the exclusive 1%, as are the present GOP contenders. So, in addition to all the above mentioned amenities and salary, the President is also given a $50,000.00 annual expense account, and $100,000.00 nontaxable travel account. Last but certainly not least, there is $19,000.00 annually allotted for entertainment. Even if the President had to buy their own groceries, this is outrageous. I've been to Washington DC, as just a Jane Doe, citizen and the groceries didn't seem that expensive.
Realizing the job of President can be a bit dangerous and visiting dignitaries do deserve safety, the Secret Service will remain in place through my potential administration. And as a woman president, I have to be honest, I don't really want to figure out how I'd clean that great big house, so the staff would have to stay, but the number of Presidential aids would be reduced and my spouse would have only one. My faith is important to me, not to be forced on others, but that I live by it, so I would want $40,000 of the annual salary to go to my place of worship. That is my tithe and the rest of my salary would be placed in a trust for the next generation. I am not sure at this time the proper procedure to accomplish this, but I will not draw the annual salary. Public service is supposed to be exactly that, service! I'm not doing this for free though. If I don't have to personally pay for the fuel in Air Force One, I'll not be needing a travel account. I think all the meetings that will be required as part of the job will be adequate travel time for me, and that's all covered. My idea of entertainment doesn't cost $19,000.00 probably in a lifetime, but certainly not annually, so I truly believe, unless there is some sort of hidden expense to this job, the annual expense account will be more than enough. Fifty Thousand dollars is a great deal more income than a large percentage of this nation is earning annually and they do have mortgages or rent to pay and gasoline to buy. It is my firm conviction that an elected leader, in order to relate to those they are leading, need to live within a certain constraint themselves. So, if I were to become President, I realize this is just a drop in the bucket, but I will be reducing the cost to the taxpayers by nearly $2,000,000.00. Now, if I were elected and discover I have to pay the light bill on that big mansion, I may have to rethink this, but the way it stands now and the way I understand it to read, being president appears to be the highest form of entitlement housing and transportation, this nation offers.
No man is able to be a servant to two masters: . . . You may not be servants of G-d and of wealth. New Testament
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