Expensive Pimps

     In the history of Western civilization, I know of only one bad man who became good after he gained power.
     Try to think of one.
     While you’re thinking, let’s take a short quiz about Congress.
     To reach national office today, it is necessary to:
     A) beg
     B) borrow
     C) steal
     D) all of the above but C.
     The correct answer is D.
     Let’s be honest about this.
     I don’t have $8 million, and if you are reading this page, I assume you don’t either.
     In 2011, the last year for which I have found statistics, the average declared net worth of a member of Congress (Senate and House combined) was $7.9 million.
     In 2012, the average declared cost of a congressional campaign was $10.5 million.
     So the cost of running a congressional campaign exceeds the average net worth of a member of Congress by 33 percent.
     Let’s assume that the average U.S. senator or congressman is not stupid.
     A congressman’s apparent chances of being re-elected, in our two-party system, is 50 percent.
     Now, no millionaire would bet 133 percent of his net worth on a 50 percent chance of winning. That would be stupid. And they’re not stupid.
     So our congressmen beg and borrow. From you and me, from China, Google, General Electric and Exxon. And so on.
     After they get elected, they pass laws to let the people who gave them money, steal.
     (Actually, members of Congress today do not have a 50 percent chance of being re-elected. An incumbent’s chances of being re-elected are 97 percent. I didn’t believe this either until I looked it up.)
     In addition to taking the money to and running, our congressional prostitutes pass laws to let their corporate pimps deduct from their taxes the money they spent electing our congressional whores.
     How many members of Congress will become virtuous after gaining power?
     Write me in a year if you find one.
     But enough about Congress.
     The answer to the question about the one bad man who became good after gaining power is (Cue the triumphant music):
     Octavius Augustus Caesar.
     Octavius was 18 when they killed his great-uncle Julius, in 44 B.C.
     Octavius then proceeded to cut deals and kill everyone who stood in his way: Brutus, Cassius, Mark Antony, Cicero, Cleopatra – name ’em, we got ’em, they dead.
     Yet after Augustus gained power – total power – he became a nice guy.
     And there was – more or less – peace for 200 years.
     After he killed everyone who stood in his way.
     Augustus Caesar is the only human being I know of who became virtuous after gaining power. Let me know if you can think of anyone else.
     As for our Congress, I don’t think a one of them will suddenly become virtuous. I think they’re all beggars, borrowers and pimps. They had to become beggars, borrowers and pimps to gain office, and I don’t see any reason at all for any of them to suddenly become virtuous, and I don’t think any of them will.
     Let’s see if 2015 proves me wrong.

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