I have various newspapers, media sites, and forums that I read through each day.....so I come across odd stories that make you ponder. Today's topic? A guy found out that a local minister of a mega-church operation.....was hired up by the deacons of the church.....and had a monthly five-thousand-dollar clothing allowance put into the deal. He didn't lay out the membership of the church, or the guy's yearly salary....it would have been curious to know that angle of the economic picture.
So, here's this pot of money.....$60,000 a year.....just for clothing. It's hard for me to imagine this type of situation.
When I retired from the Air Force.....I spent around $1,500 on real clothing (not uniforms), which naturally included a suit, and a number of casual clothing items. Yeah, I even bought three pairs of dress or casual shoes. After that period.....I probably spent around $500 a year on clothing for the office atmosphere.
In this case.....this guy is going through 1,250 a week. Your imagination runs wild with this scenario. He probably goes to some upscale 'big-and-tall' men's shop in Atlanta or Miami....gets sized up for a slinky wool-mix suit that runs around $1,000. He probably has three or four pairs of $3,000 shoes that came hand-made out of Italy. And he's probably wearing $60 socks from France. I won't even take a guess on the underwear situation.....other than it won't be the $1.50 pair of Hanes that Wal-Mart sells.
The bigger question here.....does it really matter when this guy steps up to some podium and talks blabbing away on Psalms 116? Are you looking at the suit....more than the guy and his talk? Women got in a heart-throb situation and getting all peppy over a guy's suit?
The problem is.....he asked for the allowance, and got it. It's a tax-avoidance gimmick. I'm guessing his car is leased and provided to him by the church. The home situation? Likely another leased property. The travel allowance (not even mentioned by this forum member)? Probably upwards to $50,000 a year. I would take a guess that the deacons in this situation signed up a guy, and the total package probably ranges around $400,000.
This all means that you need a mega-church that is 'thriving'.....with four to five thousand 'souls' engaged and coming out for the entertainment each Sunday, and putting at least fifty bucks in the plate. That income is covering the church building (likely a $25,000 monthly mortgage payment), and some supported church programs that run into the $4,000,000 level for the entire year.
These deacons? They aren't your garden variety type. These guys signed up early on, and simply latched onto the gimmick to make their church operation successful. I'd take a guess that the deacons themselves take a sabbatical of sorts every six months....to some Palm Springs resort, and play golf for the weekend while the church pays for the trip, the hotel, the golfing, and the dinners. Taxation? No....just free money.
There's something wrong with this picture. But I'm not sure it's fixable. You can't invent a tax that would be acceptable to these groups. You can't mandate a limit on allowances. And you can't condemn the guy for at least asking for $5,000 a month for suit money. It is.....what it is.