Friday, July 30, 2004

Entry #2194 on "Why Republicans are out of touch with Americans"...

According to reports today, former Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and presently the first Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge will step down after the November election, regardless of the outcome.  The reasons he cites are that "he is worn out from the massive reorganization of government and needs to earn money in the private sector to put his teenage children through college."  He's worried about being able to "comfortably" put his kids through college....all two of them.  The article also notes that public officials at Ridge's level can "easily earn millions of dollars each year in the private sector."

Included in the report is a snippit of his personal finances:

Salary as Governor from 1995-2001=$138316/year
Salary as Secretary from 2001-Present=$175700/year
Stocks and Funds=Between $122000 and $787000
House in Bethesda=$873000 (with a $784800 mortgage)

Let's compare this to a blue-collar, single-parent, two-child household in, say, Massachusetts.  Hypothetically speaking, a middle-aged secretary at a job for 15 years makes ~$30000/year.  (It's a little less, but we're giving ole Tommy Boy the benefit of the doubt).  For those slow with division, the poor Secretary makes six times more than the poor secretary.  One child went to a private university for ~$35000/year and received minimal federal aid because the parent made too much money.  The other child is presently at a state school that is ~$10000/year.  All parties involved had to take out interest-accruing loans, cash savings bonds, and use savings accounts to pay for school.

This family was never poverty-stricken by any standards:  always had food on the table, always had clothes to wear, always had a roof above their heads, always had cars to get to work, etc.  Bills were pretty much month-to-month, and there was not a whole lot of extra money for things.  Vacations were rare.  I would qualify that as "barely living comfortably".  Sure, more money would have helped with expenses, but this family was doing just as well as every other blue-collar, single-income, middle-class family in America (if not better). 

I find it disgusting that Ridge would use putting his kids through college as an excuse for leaving his post where he makes $175000 a year.  If you're stressed out, just say so.  If you hate your job, say so.  If you don't think Bush will get re-elected and you're going to lose your job anyway, then say so (tactfully, or else you really will lose your job).  But to say you can't afford 2 college tuitions as a member of the upper class...priceless.



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