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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Observing America – Harry & Bess

Harry & Bess
(This seems unreal.)

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably
made as many, or more important decisions regarding our
nation’s history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding
him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what
he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived
in, which was in Independence Missouri. His wife had inherited
the house from her mother and father and other than their
years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S.
Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year.
Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and
personally licking them, granted him an ‘allowance’ and,
later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and
Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was
no Secret Service following them.

When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he
declined, stating, “You don’t want me. You want the
office of the President, and that doesn’t belong to me.
It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.”

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was
preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his
87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, “I don’t
consider that I have done anything which should be
the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.”

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses
and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success
in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold
wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a
way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits
of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed,
“My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a
whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s
hardly any difference!”

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