Thursday, January 19, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: The $1 Salary + Trevor Noah Covers DeVos


The $1 Salary

So apparently billionaire heiress and presumptive Head of the Department of Things She Knows Nothing About, Betsy DeVos intends to take a salary of a mere $1 when she ascends her education throne. I think that's a lousy idea.

I know it's meant to make her seem magnanimous and willing to take on the office just out of the sweet public servicey goodness of her heart. I suppose there may also be some rich person tax dodge here-- the DeVos family can now claim all school children in the US as their dependents now, or some such accounting trick. Maybe, having never really pulled down a paycheck, DeVos is unsure what to do with it. But mostly I think we're supposed to be impressed that she's not taking our tax dollars to do the job.

Well, I'm not.

First of all, I don't care for the model that says federal leadership jobs are best handed over to the wealthy. It's a kind of backwards method of barring non-wealthy people from powerful leadership positions. It's a model for a benevolent plutocracy. You folks don't need democratically elected representatives-- we rich folks will take care of you and provide what we think is best for you. Now shut up and go back to your homes to await further instructions.

Second, I think it's a fundamental principle that you pay people to do work. It is part of a system of accountability. If you accept a salary, you are accountable to the people who pay you that salary.

The corollary is clear-- if you accept no salary, you are accountable to nobody.

It's true that there are some exceptions. Lawrence Pelletier, the president of my college when I 

Trevor Noah Covers DeVos

I'm not always a Trevor Noah fan, and he repeats the egregious characterization of Betsy DeVos as a "businesswoman"-- really? What business, exactly, has she ever run? She's an heiress and the wife of an heir. But otherwise, this is a pretty good mainstream take on DeVos's terrible hearing performance.

MTV's set-up is problematic for embedding, but follow this link for the clip. Trevor Noah Covers DeVos

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