Let’s Cut Joe Some Slack

Note: I wrote this before Rick put up his piece on the same matter. It is in no way a response to Rick’s; we just happened to both find the same story interesting. Besides, if I was going to respond to his piece, I’d start with “Rick, you ignorant slut.”


Over at Say Anything, my blog-buddy Rob Port has an interesting story: Vice President Joe Biden is charging the Secret Service rent for using a cottage on his property.


At first, my reaction was much like Rob’s: Joe the buffoon is, like a lot of elected officials, looking to make a few bucks at the expense of the taxpayers.


But then I started thinking about it more. I’ve never been a fan of Biden’s, but I have to admit that he’s never struck me as corrupt in that way. He’s a buffoon, a braggart, a bozo, a clown, and a bit of a dolt, but not overly venal. Hell, after 40-odd years of public service, his family’s net worth is still less than a million dollars, so it’s clear he hasn’t been lining his pockets all that time.


So I looked at the source story more carefully, and found I had to disagree with Rob. This isn’t that big a story.


Joe Biden owns a hunk of land in Maryland. On that land is a cottage that he’s previously used as a rental property. A little while ago, his tenant moved out. The Secret Service wanted to use that cottage to help them provide security for Biden and his family, so they took it over. And they are paying precisely the same rent that Biden’s previous tenant paid.


As noted, the Biden family is not a wealthy one. $2200 a month is a tidy hunk of change, and probably plays a significant role in their finances. To ask them to give up that income in the name of public service would be more of a sacrifice than it would be for, say, the Obamas (net worth about $5 million) or the McCains or even the Palins (who would probably redecorate the cottage for the Secret Service, and bring them coffee and donuts).


In the big picture, the use of the cottage is running the Secret Service $26,400 a year. And I don’t know their pay grades, but I’d say that’s less than the annual salary and benefits of a single agent. So I don’t think it’s that big a deal.


We got plenty we can kick Biden around for. In the big picture, in language Joe understands, this isn’t “a big fucking deal.” Let’s let this one slide.



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