Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Comparatively speaking

How do politicians make money? (Source)

When Bill Clinton left office after eight years as president of the wealthiest and the most powerful country in the world, he had nothing, not even a home.

In fact, he was seriously in debt to the tune of about $12 million on account of his legal battles while in office. According to him, "I knew that I wanted to write a book about my life and the presidency and that I would have to work hard for three or four years to pay my legal bills [and], buy our home"

In 2004, Clinton received between $10m and $12m for writing My Life. He has followed this up with a lucrative speaking career, earning about $40 million in speaking fees over the past six years.

In one of his most lucrative years since he left the presidency, Clinton earned $9 million to $10 million on the lecture circuit. He averaged almost a speech a day -- 352 for the year. On one particularly good day in Canada, Clinton made $475,000 for two speeches, more than double his annual salary as president.

"I never had a nickel to my name until I got out of the White House, and now I'm a millionaire." Clinton reflected.

But contrast above with Nigerian politicians. Some governors are currently facing trials for allegedly looting their state treasuries. One of them is accused of laundering a staggering N36 billion while in office.

As they say, different strokes for different folks

- by Martin Udogie (Editor of Bottomline Business Newsletter)


There's this old joke I like to tell, which I read in Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat (with Western, Asian, and African government officials). This version is from a Kenyan site, so just Americans and Kenyans. But you get the idea:

A Kenyan politician went to the US to visit his counterpart. When the senator invited him home for dinner, the minister was very impressed by the lavish mansion, grounds and the costly furnishings. He asked, "How can you afford all this on a meagre senator's salary?"
The senator smiled knowingly and took him to the window. "Can you see the river?"
"Yes"
"Can you see the bridge over it?"
"Of course", said the minister.
"10 percent", said the senator smugly.

Some time later, he had occasion to pay a return visit. The Kenyan minister lavished all hospitality on him. When they came to his house, the American was stunned by the huge palace the minister had built, glittering with precious art, hundreds of servants etc.
"How can you possibly afford this, on a salary in Shilings?', he asked.
The minister called him to the window. "See the river over there?"
"Sure", cried the senator.
"Can you see the bridge over it?"
The senator looked, was confused, peered closely and said - "No, I don't see any bridge."
"100 percent", said the minister !!

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