After his billionaire vacay, Obama cashes in at the speech trough
For ordinary Americans, the one way you draw a $400,000 paycheck is to do something to create value. This is the story of very hardworking small businesses everywhere. As one wag put it several years ago in a book title, the first $20 million is the hardest.
Then there's Obama, fresh off his billionaire vacation over in Tahiti at Marlon Brando's exclusive hideaway estate, now drawing his first $400,000 paycheck for a...speech, from Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Cue the music:
We're in the money, come on, my honey
Let's spend it, lend it, send it rolling along
Nice work if you can get it. And Obama is far from the only ex-official who's done it. The Bush family was the first group of politicians I was aware of that played this game. My savvy auto executive uncle in Michigan explained to me as a kid that this was very likely a disguised sort of bribery.
Obama has just demonstrated a capacity to take whatever this is to new heights. So much for this guy being a man of the people or devoting himself to mentoring young black men and returning to community organizing or his daughter Sasha in his post-presidency, as he had claimed at the end of his term. Nope, it's all about cashing out and getting rich on unearned income now, something he didn't want to tell the reporters when he was exiting office. Not exactly the "gone fishin'" relaxation of a real retirement, either.
The bigger question to ask may be what Cantor Fitzgerald got in return for its $400,000. Was it an expectation that Obama's minions would be returned to power, and an expectation of being remembered for their emoluments, or was it a payoff for some favor the Obama administration did during his presidency? A good investigative reporter should probably check into this.
As for the rest of us, well, compare and contrast how we make our $400,000 paychecks, all the pious talk from Obama during his presidency about how we all "work hard," now coming up against this rich wastrel picture. He's not adding value. He's collecting rents.