Clement: A bad message

January 24, 2013 

A bad message

Rick Martinez is right that objections to Gov. Pat McCrory’s raises for Cabinet members are not about the money (“The pay a Cabinet deserves,” Jan. 16), but he’s wrong that they’re childish cheap shots.

The issue is not whether these positions deserve suitable pay, but how the raises were managed.

Mitt Romney’s offer to bet $10,000 to make a point signaled that he didn’t understand what a dollar means to struggling workers and the unemployed. McCrory’s justification, that Cabinet members otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to live, sends a similar signal to North Carolina workers battered by the economy.

Martinez’s argument for adequately paying Cabinet members is fair, although I wonder whether he would have similarly supported Cabinet raises by Gov. Bev Perdue. However, he uses the conventional rationale measuring relative worth in dollars only.

That Art Pope is working free as “deputy” budget director speaks loudly about the position’s intangible asset, which is power.

Politics, unlike running a business, carries opportunities for influence worth much more than money, which makes measuring political appointments by salary, at best, deceptive.

Don Clement


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