Saturday, 26 January 2008


I need to put this here again as the fact still astonishes me. I just do the conversion into euros for European readers.

Why does a Venezuelan "Socialist" deputy earn

5,085.06 EUR every month PLUS TEN MONTHS of bonus plus expenses for trips and other work related issues?

As you can see here Venezuela is just at place 88 in GDP according to GDP per capita.

Here the references to a well-known Venezuelan priest who found out how much our Venezuelan "heroes" pay themselves.

Tax rates in Venezuela are much lower than in Germany, costs of most things are lower as well, so Venezuelan deputies are living very well. The same is the case for most of the top politicians we have now.

Isn't it a shame in a country where there are so many poor people?


  1. Not that I don't believe you on the amount, I do, but do you have a link on it?

    Yes, the government salaries for top officials are outrageously high. At one point Chavez said they were going to cut them. Around the same time they talked about increasing gasoline prices. But they never did it.

    I assume the reason they are so high is that they are buying blind obediance. People won't want to lose access to that salary. Another reason might be that to some extent it can shield people from bribery. It might, but it is hard to do that as private industry has LOTS of money to bribe people.

    Finally, you can't in most western countries judge what public officials get by what their salaries are. I can't speak about Germany but I can about the U.S.. Take the president - they earn 300 or 400k. Doesn't seem like a lot right? It isn't.

    But when they leave office they make millions and millions for all the business they have helped. Reagan was paid $2 million dollars for ONE speach in Japan after he left office.

    Clinton it was just reported is going to get $20 million (yes, you read correctly, $20 million) just from ONE investment firm he has done consulting for. He has made tens of millions more from speeches. As the Wall Street Journal said in the article he went from having a net worth of nothing back when he was president to now being worth tens of even hundreds of millions of dollars.

    And that works for other officials to. For example, high level military officers go back and forth between the military where they only make a government salary and defense contractors where they make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year. As they say, government is a "revolving door". That is the way the system works in capitalist societies.

    So while I don't know about Germany I am willing to bet it works the same way and that their actual salaries are the least of their earnings - they get much more on the side.

    By contrast that probably doesn't work for the pro-Chavez deputies in VEnezuela. I doubt Polar, or Venevision or any other private company is willing to pay them that much. Maybe some, but in general I bet it isn't much.

    BTW, I know that before Chavez congress people made a LOT from private interests. Remember the Banco Latino scandal? They found that Banco Latino had given lots of deputies free credit cards that the bank would actually pay for them each month (so they were getting tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on the side each year). Is private industry doing that right now for the Chavista deputies? Maybe, but I haven't heard of it and I sort of doubt it.

  2. Ow,

    There is a link to an article about the priest, but I have read more on the issue. I will try to find something more tomorrow, I have read it in several places.
    Just a couple of things: do we always need to finance a deputy's life?
    Can't they get a job afterwards?
    Or are they lost?
    I mean: I supposed it can be difficult to switch jobs after so long, but do Venezuelans really have to pay so much?
    I also doubt Venezuelan former deputies would be payed as much for talking to Venevisión (and hey, even if Clinton is not Kennedy, he speaks better than Celia Flores). Still, I am sure many do get and will get more "favores" from people they gave "favores" and perhaps some payment for afterwards might be given IF they do not get a job fast (something like upgraded unemployment money, but not upgraded so much they can live like satrapas?)

    German Bundestag members very often get other stuff from consultancy and that is also very discussed and criticized here (also in Netherlands, Britain, Belgium, etc).
    I read about the salary of Germany's Bundestag members several months ago when browsing a brochure one gets from the Bundestag. It said at the end something like "but what is the price of democracy"?
    We were shocked at that. As if we really HAD to pay that for "democracy", else, Adolf Hitler would be back.
    I will try to find out what a Venezuelan will pay for taxes for that money. I know Germans would easily leave half of it.
    I had posted more data on what they spend the money.
    It would be nice if we could have a follow up of what everyone or at least every politician pays in taxes as they did in Sweden (at least according to a book I read ages ag, Suecia, Inferno y Paraíso, by an Italian writer)


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