Dear Richard, Did you hear what's going on in Belgium these days? I know we are small, but you might like this. (It just happened, I could get better sources, translated, if requested) Peter Mertens, the head of the workers party (PVDA/PTB; these guys, when elected, only keep 1700 to 2000 euro/month to themselves, like normal people earn), wrote a book: Graailand (Grab Land) Here is his Tweet (there are a few versions): "I never thought there would be a TV show of my book so soon, every day at 19:00h in the News" https://twitter.com/peter_mertens/status/832257724230541312 The Tweet (rephrased) was repeated in Parliament, by a party member. The president of the parliament* (ex journalist of the public tv (Belgian version of BBC), now the best payed politician in Belgium because of his function as president, he is being paid "for advice" by the private big TV company "Telenet", 1000 euro/month, just because the month chages name + 2000 euro per meeting if he actually shows up... ) is the leading subject of the current scandal (I bet he will resign very soon). (*notice, The president of the parliament is the person who puts up and announces the agenda... ; this agenda item was called "Grabbing culture in Belgian politics") The scandal being: top politicians being in dozens of well payed boards of big comapanies, and also specifically "InterCommunales", they group electricity/water/garbage... distribution/collection for cities, and these entities have lots of jobs for politicians (1 of them has almost 400 manager jobs for a total of 700 people)) http://pvda.be/video/raoul-hedebouw-pvda-veegt-graaier-siegfried-bracke-de-mantel-uit-kamer ---- And Now for Something Completely Different :) So, a few weeks ago, Louis Michel, an old politician, and the father of the current Pirme Minister (PM is the third guy in the video, sitting behind the president) explained to us why politicians ought to be paid well. Basically two reasons (I'm paraphrasing, but not much): 1) If you don't pay us enough, we might be forced to spend more time on side jobs (being a lawyer or economist, giving advice to boards of directors, ...) 2) Let's say you pay politicians only 4800 euro/month netto or less, you will not attrackt elite geniouses: CEO's, top lawyers, top economists, ... You might only attrackt teachers and bakers (he really used these two examples). a teacher replys http://www.levif.be/actualite/belgique/monsieur-michel-je-me-sens-outragee/article-opinion-609875.html Another old politician, also father of a young politician, explained in 2011 that "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys". He was explaining why it's fair to receive 300000 euro as a "I'm not in parliament anymore" exit bonus. http://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20110904_029/ The way I see it: Reason 1 should suggest some corelation, saying that well payed politicians are less likely to be corrupt or having side activities. Well, reason 1 is exploding in their faces right now. Reason 2 ... That might actually be true, I kind of like where this argument is pointing to. Greetings from Brussels
Today in Belgian politics. Not sure if there is a real question in this.
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