In moments of exacerbation I have sometimes mentioned how our government isn’t even worth minimum wage. Now I was being facetious of course, but hang on a sec, let’s go over this idea for a minute.
First of all let’s talk about why we think our politicians deserve to be paid between 200 and 400 thousand dollars a year? I get the logic of course, you want to attract the best people to the top positions, in theory that is great, but I think when we have a look at even just the front bench of our government, we can see that that isn’t working. In fact I think I am being generous when I say that most of the people in our ministry are not qualified to hold their positions. And that is generous, because I have personally worked under some of these people and without saying anything that might compromise anyone, I would like to stress that often the minister isn’t even the most qualified person in the room to hold their portfolio, but I digress.
So my point is, that clearly paying our politicians more is not increasing the quality of our politicians. So the next most logical question, would the quality fall if they were paid less?
But I think we already have the answer to this question, you just have to look at low paying professions to see how that works out, and I think you could ask any nurse in the world working 12 hour shifts keeping people alive, if they would work any harder if they were paid more, but more importantly, none of them would let their patients die if they were paid less.
And isn’t that really the mentality people working in government are suppose to have? Isn’t public office a duty? Where you are charged with looking after your nation and giving it direction to a better future? If that isn’t the point of government, then why do we have a government at all? In fact I think you could easily argue that the big pay politicians receive is bringing forward WORSE people, people who only pursue the job because of the money, and once they become hooked and reliant on that money will turn to endless nefarious means to stay on it. Which I would argue is exactly what has happened.
When combined with the modern realisation that there really are no real world consequences for corruption, it is pretty easy to see why narcissistic, self-serving parasites would be attracted to these positions. Moreover when these positions are full of amoral opportunists, the people who we actually want to attract, just open the door into the senate and see it is full of screeching idiots flinging shit at each other and they take one good look and just think, fuck it, and walk away, like any sane person would do. I mean how often have we seen bright eyed, wholesome people enter politics and only a few years later leave it looking disheveled and morose? I can think of a few examples.
So in my opinion big pay is not only not working to attract the right people it is an active detriment to getting them.