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The governor of Texas (who desperately wants to be your president) is flitting all around, spreading tons of fairy dust about his record. So, I've got another "Perry Tale" for you -- this one about his claim to be "Rick-the-regular-guy" -- as opposed to one of those elitist, out-of-touch, Congress guys.

"We need a part-time Congress," he barked recently. "Let them come back to their districts and work full time in a job back here. Cut their salaries," he added, "cut their staffs." Perry says that -- By Gollies -- he'll make public officials live like regular people.

Great idea! Make Congress live like Rick, right? Uh... well... not exactly. After all, he's a lifetime politician who hasn't had a real job in 27 years. Far from living with the regular folks back in Paint Creek, Texas, he's cozily ensconced in a suburban Austin mansion costing taxpayers more than $10,000 a month. As for bloated staffs, he's got drivers, handlers, PR flaks, political operatives, and personal aides -- all at taxpayers' expense.

Also, while demanding that Congressional pay be cut in half, he's been secretly padding his own $150,000-a-year gubernatorial paychecks with an extra $7,700 a month from taxpayers. How? By retiring. Not literally, but under a provision that allows certain Texas officials to draw a government pension at age 60 while also taking their state salary. Did I mention that candidate Perry proposes to slash Social Security, the only pension that most regular Americans have?

Rick-the-regular-guy, however, says that he deserves his double-dip into the public treasury, calling it "just kind of good estate planning in my opinion." Gosh, shouldn't someone tell Rick that most people don't have estates, much less government-financed estates? Naw -- let him keep blathering about his hypocritical fantasies.

See Perry, The Governor, Becomes A Retiree, The New York Times, December 17, 2011.


Jim Hightower is an American populist, spreading his message of democratic hope via national radio commentaries, columns, books, his award-winning monthly newsletter (The Hightower Lowdown) and barnstorming tours all across America.
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