Bolivian president takes a stand for education
Now you KNEW I couldn't let this one go by.
President Evo Morales cut his salary in half and declared no Cabinet minister can collect a higher wage than his own, with the savings to be used to hire more public school teachers.
The move followed a campaign pledge to tackle political corruption and restore honesty to the government of South America's poorest country. But critics called it a propaganda ploy that will do little to help the needy.
Five days into his leftist government, Morales announced Thursday his salary would be $1,875 a month and that his Cabinet would also have their salaries capped at that figure.
"I ask for (the ministers') understanding and efforts to try to meet this demand, not for Evo but for the people," Morales said.
He said the savings would be used to hire more teachers, adding: "We need 6,000 new teachers and there is only money for 2,200."
Morales' predecessor earned $3,900 a month. The yearly savings of $24,300 is about enough to pay the annual salaries seven experienced teachers, rent a middle class apartment or buy a new Ford Focus in Bolivia.
Yes, yes, I KNOW he's a socialist. But at least he's being true to his principles-- and I got to see the words "president cuts pay to hire more teachers" as a headline in the local paper. That was a thrill!
Of course, now the guy won't be able to buy a new sweater, which for some reason was the topic of conversation in the news earlier this week (C'mon people! It was alpaca wool. He's from Bolivia! If Reagan could wear a cowboy hat, what's up with the hubbub about the lack of shirtings, as Bertie Wooster would say? At least he wasn't trying to honor his previous profession and sell coca leaves to world leaders....).