After the fall of the Soviet Union, [Vladimir Putin] said in interview excerpts released Sunday, “Sometimes I had to earn extra money. I mean, earn extra money by car, as a private driver.” Specifically, according to Agence France-Presse, “he worked occasionally as a taxi driver to boost his income.” …
The fall of the Communist behemoth, he said, was a “tragedy” for “most citizens.” Putin asked: “After all, what is the collapse of the Soviet Union? This is the collapse of historical Russia under the name of the Soviet Union.” He added that the fall of the oppressive superpower was “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.”
The national disaster was paralleled in Putin’s personal life; he doesn’t remember his time as a driver with any fondness: “It’s unpleasant to talk about to be honest but, unfortunately, that was the case.”
It may be unpleasant for Putin to look back on those days. It must have been a mighty fall to go from being among the cosseted Soviet apparatchiks to ferrying around the very same ordinary people among whom he once inspired horror and dread as a KGB agent. But was it really that unfortunate? …
Certainly, no other world leader can boast of having spent any time living as an ordinary citizen after entering into the inner circle of the governing elites. …
Contrast that with Joe Biden, who passes himself off as a common man:
Biden became a Senator in 1973 at the age of 30; he stayed in the Senate until he was 66 when he became vice president. He left the vice presidency at age 74 and became president at age 78.
What this means is that since he was 30 years old at least, Joe Biden hasn’t had any of the worries that ordinary Americans have. He has never had to have the least concern about making ends meet. CBS News reported that when he became vice president in 2009, he had a net worth of less than $30,000, but that was likely more a matter of cash flow than actual penury. In any case, by ten years later, according to Forbes, Old Joe was worth $9 million. As vice president for eight years, he made about a million. The other $8 million is part of the perks that come from having power and influence. Biden has also never had to worry that either he or his son Hunter would be prosecuted for their obvious corrupt dealings because he is a member of the party that is exempt from such prosecutions.
Joe Biden for over fifty years has been pretending to be just a regular guy when all through that period he has been part of America’s new elite class that has no responsibilities, no worries, no risks, and no trouble. …
The lesson here:
Every American politician should be barred from making any money above and beyond the salary stipulated for his or her office, and anyone who wants to seek elected office should be made to drive a cab for four or five years first. That’s the kind of law we need: let these comfortable elites who have so much power over our lives find out what it’s really like to live with the policies they created before they inflict any more of them on us. We would almost certainly come out with a higher quality crop of politicians.
Putin is actually very popular in Russia, though he has slipped somewhat. Far more popular than Biden is in the US.
How about we pay our politicians — and bureaucrats too — as multiples of the average wage? The Prime Minister’s salary could be set at five times the average wage, a head of department at 4.5 times, a junior clerk at 0.6 times, and so on. It would give them automatic pay rises (or falls) and great incentives to help the rest of us.
I’ll bet if a major party went to the election with this policy, they would win in a canter.