Why is the Phildelphia Inquirer paying Rick Santorum $1,750 to a write a column?

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And a bad one at that?

This item popped up last week, but deserves more attention I think. According to the Philly Daily News:

Former U. S. Sen. Rick Santorum is collecting $1,750 a shot for the columns that appear every other week in the Inquirer, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

A) Everybody knows about the dismal state of the newspaper business. Against that backdrop, writing Santorum $40K worth of checks annually for a quickie column is absurd.

B) Even if newspapers were flush with cash, the Santorum pay scale is so far out of whack for the newspaper industry it's crazy. Obviously major dailies, such as the New York Times, pay their staff columnists very well. But Santorum's not on staff. He's a glorified freelancer and major dailies often pay freelancers $300 per-column. So why $1,750 for Santorum? Or newspapers pick up syndicated columns and pay a laughably small amount for those; often less than $50.

But the Inquirer's paying (or was paying, pre-bankruptcy) Santorum $40K annually? Makes no sense.

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