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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


November 22, 2016

The Dollar a Year Man

Harry M. Covert

In the midst of this happy week, there is a lot for all to be thankful most assuredly. There are plenty of joys to go around. How exciting to be with family and food and sporting activities.

 

Once we recover from those wonderful dinners, it’s an exciting time to decorate for the Christmas holidays, indoor and outdoor lights, beautiful ornaments on the trees, and then the shopping thrills and bills for the season.

 

While the season is unveiling all sorts of fun-filled activities, maybe all of the political conversations can slow down.

 

Several things come to light these days to warrant interesting talk during wassailing, standing under mistletoes, Christmas caroling and, most importantly, for traditionalists praying for a white Christmas. The almanac, Google, and the National Weather Service are being ignored for the purpose of this writing. Currier and Ives paintings for the period are fantastic and cozy as we enjoy the eggnog and other beverages or even send and receive seasonal cards.

 

A present for all taxpayers is on the horizon. The newly elected president of these United States is setting a good example for all public servants. He’s only going to accept a salary of one dollar per year and donate the rest, $399,999, to a charity to be named. Let’s all get on the list.

 

Again, he will join another elite group who declined presidential salaries. Herbert Hoover, the 31st president, a mining millionaire, split his pay with several charities and to his staff.

 

John F. Kennedy, the 35th chief executive, donated his pay to charities as he did as a senator. His daddy was a prolific money maker.

 

Without question these leaders earned their private wealth outside of government.

 

Think for a moment. How many public servants on state and local levels ever considered foregoing salaries? Of course, those who devote themselves to public service usually don’t have the resources of financial independence.

 

How many would agree to manage cities and counties without remunerations? This is not a suggestion that they do, but it was General George Washington, a wealthy landowner in Virginia, who didn’t take the money, even while he was leading the Revolutionary War. According to history, he only took expenses for his military service and was reimbursed by Congress for financing the war. His ledger is in our national archives.

 

Mr. Washington did turn down being king. He didn’t believe in a monarchy as suggested by Alexandria Hamilton.

 

The first president is one of two American military people to be ranked as General of the Armies. He got it posthumously.

 

As we get through the celebration season, maybe a campaign should get under way that governors, county executives and mayors (and those with similar titles) should be officers without pay. Then there would have to be full-fledged ethics rules and regulations not seen before. How many bankers, certified public accountants, doctors and lawyers, Indian chiefs, real estate professionals, sports coaches and players to name a few, would give up pay for public service?

 

Perusing such suggestion, quite naturally, isn’t feasible to get such talent in the public arena. It’s a nice thought, but not pragmatic.

 

Well, a dollar a year is worth a lot. The new recipient has the benefit of the federal treasury, government airplanes, all kinds of chefs and food tasters. The next occupant probably won’t want to hang around Camp David more than once. His resorts and assets, like his marble and golden New York palace, may have to be consecrated for historical purposes.

 

Will anyone dare to temporarily rename the Blair House in honor of the new president? All right. Enough.

 

Please pass the ham and turkey, gravy, yeast rolls and the rest of the trimmings.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com.

 



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