Taking Congress Back From Wall Street

$1,331 per minute. No, that is not Mitt Romney’s average earned income; that number is much smaller. Nor is it the rate of growth of the federal deficit; that number is much bigger. In fact this number is nearly as frightening as the federal deficit when one considers the implications. So what would you do with $1,331every minute? If you said throw it away lobbying government and forking out campaign contributions, well, that would make you crazy. Unfortunately, that would also make you Wall Street.

According to Global Exchange’s Elect Democracy effort, the Financial Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector has given $4.2 Billion combined in lobbying and campaign contributions in just the last 5 1/2 years. $879 million alone has gone directly into campaigns to re-elect the same cronies who allowed Wall Street to hold the economy for ransom, then negotiated with these capitalism terrorists using your money and my money to pay the ransom. Now we should unshackle Wall Street? Before FDR put in banking regulations the financial sector had a collapse an average of every six years. Guess how many years it took for this collapse after Congress deregulated the financial sector? Apparently our esteemed representatives on Capitol Hill are not intelligent enough to connect the dots. If you said six, you are smarter than your Congressman.

Typically Patriotslog will disagree with government regulations; unfortunately the FIRE sector has showed time and again that on a scale of 1 to trustworthy, they rank about even with your local used car dealer. FIRE has proven themselves to be profit hawks, caring only about their bottom line, and having no regard for public welfare. This is typically not a problem because if a company holds this business model and makes bad judgments, they go bankrupt. With FIRE this is not the case; instead, their bad decisions get bailed out by us, and they are taught the same lesson a troublesome child is taught if their parents show no concern for their antics: they believe they can do it again with no consequences. I suppose at $1,331 per minute Congress agrees with them. At $1,331 per minute Congress will bail them out time and time again.

Obviously this creates a massive conflict of interest. Giving billions of dollars to the people who govern the activities of that donor ensures more than favorable results. However the problem is not FIRE alone, it is lobbying in general. Not long ago lobbying became the most profitable investment for a company to make. More profitable than improving their products, developing new products, making production/delivery more efficient, and growing their company. Not that lobbying is the problem, but the incentives lobbying gives to representatives certainly are. Imagine you own a company that makes mirrors. One day a Congressman takes home a mirror produced at your factory, which, due to their rough driving, breaks on the ride home, slashing through their leather seats in multiple places. Though this was not a faulty mirror, it still costs the Congressman over a thousand dollars in re-upholstery. When they receive the bill for the upholstery they are naturally angry. This anger irrationally drives them to blame you, the mirror manufacturer, despite the fact that it was their driving which caused the problem in the first place. The next day the Congressman writes a bill to regulate the mirror production industry. You learn this bill will hurt your business, cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and probably force you to lay off employees. Now you need a lobbyist.

As you can see, there is a need for lobbying in D.C. The problem lies with the conflict of interest. An ethical lobbyist might call you and get a list of all your vendors: your raw materials, your facility maintenance, your machine maintenance, your employees health care provider, the power and utilities company, your phone company, your delivery trucks, even the company which stocks your vending machines, all your employees, and everyone who has any affiliation with your company whatsoever; then taking these vendors and writing letters for them to sign and send to flood your Congressman and Senators to block the bill. They can also organize to flood their offices with phone calls to stop the bill. They can put together a logical presentation and deliver it to them in their offices. They can use their friends and contacts on Capitol Hill to talk sense into the Congressman proposing these regulations. There are a lot of good things a lobbyist can do for your company; creating a conflict of interest with monetary incentives cannot be one of them.

A lobbyist should never create a conflict of interest through monetary incentives. This means the lobbyist should not be able to call certain Congressmen and tell them that they, their other clients, you, your vendors, or the lobbying firm are willing to make a generous campaign donation if the legislation is opposed. A bribe like this ought to result in the lobbyist and the representative being racked up side by side in the public square to receive a flogging (I am only half kidding). Moreover, if your company gives regular campaign contributions, your representative will be far more likely to help you. This is not a bribe, but a conflict of interests all the same. Patriotslog has a simple solution for this. Any person, company, or entity who lobbies, has lobbied, has employed a lobbyist, or has paid lobbying fees in the past 12 months is ineligible to give campaign donations for the remainder of the election cycle (the two year period ending the on election day in November for Congressman, and the six year period ending on election day for Senators).

There are obviously other problems, other conflicts of interest created by other financial incentives. But Congress is not all that broken. If earmarks on bills were eliminated, and Representatives were no longer allowed to take as much money as possible and bring it home to their districts, then the majority of the conflicts of interest on Capitol Hill would disappear as fast as Newt Gingrich’s credibility. Most importantly, our livelihoods, our economy, our Representation, our tax dollars, and our security would not be siphoned from us away for $1,331 per minute. With that simple reform we can kiss the Iscariot Congress goodbye.

–Matt Young

20 August 2012

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About patriotslog

I am studying to achieve a double major in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky. I am married to a wonderful woman named Sierra. I am starting this blog because I feel the political climate in Washington is carving deep canyons for our children to climb out of. Our representatives, on both sides of the isle, do not represent us, they represent the lobbyists.This blog is not to give answers, but to make people think. I believe the more we think about our ideas the better they will become; as opposed to becoming more and more intrenched in far left or right wing brainwash, where it seems nobody thinks anymore. I hope y'all enjoy.

Posted on August 20, 2012, in Patriotslog Articles, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Keep functioning ,impressive job!

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