“Social questions are the vital questions of today; they take the place of religion.”
Beatrice Webb in her diary in 1884, quoted in Gertrude Himmelfarb The De-moralization of Society
Here's the kind of story that inspires a mixture of rage and bewilderment. NBC reports that while Hillary Clinton has been lambasting "for-profit schools" including Trump University, "Over five years, former president Bill Clinton earned $17.6 million from the world's largest for-profit education company, Laureate Education, Inc. In his role as "honorary chancellor," Clinton has traveled the world on Laureate's behalf, extolling the virtues of the school." And doing very well indeed. We should be so, uh, lucky. Now look. I know a lot of people like Bill Clinton, focusing more on the charming than the rogue in his makeup. I am not among them. But a lot of people do.
I also realize that Bill Clinton is a champion schmoozer and makes good connections. He pulls in huge sums for the Clinton Foundation and by no means all of them were people hoping for favours from one H. Clinton when she was Secretary of State. But $17.6 million over five years is over $3.5 million a year. That's over $9,600 a day, even in a leap year. And it wasn't the only thing he was doing nor, indeed, the only thing he was doing that brought in vast sums. (For instance The Washington Post says he made $104.9 million giving 542 speeches between 2001 and 2013, an average of $193,542.44 per. And that he was paid $3.13 million in "consulting fees" in 2009 and 2010 by an investment firm whose boss's charity has given the Clinton Foundation millions more and who did at least try to contact Hillary Clinton for a favor when she was Secretary of State.)
What can anyone do for you on a part-time basis that's worth nearly $10,000 a day? Per customer? And what has he got to say that's worth 200 grand a pop, 45 times a year, for over a decade? I mean, we're out there asking people to support our documentaries and commentaries and other work like the "Ask the Professor" feature with, say, $5 a month, which is about 17 cents a day. That's less than one fifty-six-thousandth of Clinton's haul from Laureate Education alone. I'd need 3,226 people to answer that call to make as much in a year as Clinton does for an average speech of the sort he was giving nearly once a week.
I'm not saying I'm in the wrong business. But I am saying if this news bugs you as much as it bugs me, and if you think it's important to keep the voices that matter to you audible, please do try to find that 17 cents a day for us, and for other groups like Ezra Levant's The Rebel, Dave Reesor's Let's Do It Ourselves, Danny Hozack's Economic Education Association of Alberta (and yes, I'm professionally involved with two of them) and other similar outfits like the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Constitution Foundation and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (who helped us enormously with our Fix the Constitution documentary project).
Unlike the Clintons, we're never going to get rich doing what we do. But that's kind of the point.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the first installment of “Been There, Done That… Shouldn’t Have”, a print and video commentary for the Economic Education Association of Alberta’s “Freedom Talk”. One of the most frustrating things about economic policy is we’re not even making new mistakes, just repeating old ones we forgot about. Sometimes so old they were first made in Latin. That’s why the focus of the series will be stories from economic history and, sometimes, mythology as well, to remind us that on at least 90 percent of the policies labeled bold and new we’ve been there, we’ve done that and we shouldn’t have. You can find them on the Freedom Talk site, of course, and we hope you’ll want to share them with your friends and help us keep the series going.