George Washington Had An Expensive Birthday Bash While His Army Starved
Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The first president of the United States, according to legend, was a humble man who was pathologically unable to tell a lie and had wooden teeth. We generally accept that most of that is false, but even if we are about to say he insisted on jerking off during every battle, that doesn't change the fact that the guy was always a hero when it counted.
Edward P. Moran
"He rubbed one out while everyone stood at attention and watched; it gave us the morale to survive Valley Forge."
But Everyone Forgets ...
George Washington was so humble that he refused a salary ... instead taking an expense account that he intentionally exploited the crap out of. We've mentioned before some of his crazy expense account abuses -- for example, in seven months, Washington spent $6,000 dollars, or 75 times the yearly salary of a private, on booze alone. He billed the Continental Congress $3,800 for his retreat from New Jersey, and spent 120 times the monthly salary of a private on a goddamn saddle for a horse (or at least, we hope it was for a horse).
Despite the fact that 1776 dollars make the contents of your wallet look like monopoly money, for $6,000 today, you could drink booze while fucking flying, and then buy three horses.
Junius Brutus Stearns
Of course, he also bought hundreds of actual humans over the years, so purchasing power comparisons may not hold up.
Washington also used his expense account to lend money to deadbeat friends who never paid him back, and to buy senselessly extravagant things, like crate after crate of limes. At Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, one-sixth of the critically under-supplied American army died, much of them from starvation. The food situation was so desperate that Washington sent troops to as far away as New Jersey to "forage" -- better known as "stealing food from random people so our army doesn't die of starvation".
Library of Congress
"... And try to find beans that aren't covered in farmers' tears this time. Too salty."