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What happens when you turn Congress over to market forces?
Outpost of Freedom
February 11, 2012
This is not intended to be a book or video review, at least in the normal sense. However, both a book and a video will be mentioned. The each cover opposite sides of recent events, though you will see the common ground -- that both sides agree on.
It begins with Congress (and, yes, let's include presidential candidates, as well) and their desire to seek or retain their office. This is often referred to as "The Campaign Trail". Of course, that sounds nice, but when we think of a trail, we think of a dirt path with minimal effort in its constructions. The Campaign Trail, however, is paved with gold. It entails hundreds of millions of dollars, each year, to move the candidate into the public eye and, hopefully, get him elected.
When you consider that nearly half of Congress are multi-millionaires, you begin to understand that they are a part of an "economic aristocracy" to begin with. They move and shake with the wealthy, and rely upon those wealthy to assist them in securing their election.
These wealthy, however, have already learned that the fastest way to wealth is to have the law on your side; and, whenever possible, that their competition have the law against them. So, the question arises, how can they possibly grow and retain their wealth with the best assurance of their success? Quite simply, the answer is to manipulate the Congress to enact laws to their benefit and to enact laws that would hurt the competition. It is the legislation that provides "economic favor" to one and the legislation that denies "economic favor" to the other that is the motivating factor for what has become the mainstay of politics in Washington, D.C. That end is achieved by assuring that under the right conditions, those who are seeking to enter or retain office need a source, beyond mom & pop, to contribute to their campaign -- for a job that pays about $200,000 a years plus benefits. The goal is to raise tens or hundreds of millions for "The Campaign Trail". Now, if mom & pop were to pitch in say $200, to the campaign, it would take half a million such contributions to make the campaign fund come to the $100 million mark. It would be a lot easier if contributions in the tens or hundreds of thousands were made available, so, let's put ethics aside and go for the easiest way to achieve the funds necessary for election or retention.
Now, to really understand how this works, I would suggest that you read Jack Abramoff's book, "Capital Punishment" (available at Amazon). It is a self serving story of what led him to serve a prison sentence. He, of course, didn't really realize that what he was doing was illegal, though he did manage to create a number of organizations so that there was, often, no direct trail from his lobby client to the Congress critter. All the Congress critter knew was that if he supported certain legislation, substantial contributions ended up in his campaign fund. Of course, he wasn't smart enough to understand the causal relationship between the two, though he is smart enough to enact laws that have, to say the least, begun to destroy this country (more about that, later).
The other side, however, is a bit more enlightening. There is concurrence with much of what Abramoff says in his book, but the divisiveness of his activities comes out, clear as a bell, in Alex Gibney's documentary, "Casino Jack" (available through Netflix and other on line sources). Abramoff's downfall came when he received over $40 million from an Indian tribe to aid them in securing the right to reopen their casino, which, ironically, earlier activity by Abramoff caused to be closed. The bill was attached as a rider to an Election Bill. When a Senator refused to go along, Abramoff's house of cards began to crumble, as did the leadership of the Indian tribe who had spent so much money on "a sure thing".
As you review the events described in the book and video, you will read, or hear, names of many well known people (including a President). You will, in many cases, understand their gratitude for the "contributions" they received, just for being good Congressmen. When you are finished, you will wonder why only two Congressmen served time, and why their sentences were so short.
Finally, you will see that hundreds of millions of dollars began flowing from the Financial industry through lobbyists, just a few years ago, resulting in deregulation of the Banking industry and the subsequent failure of our economy.
If you have never before thought that something was too broken to fix, I'm sure that when you read and watch, you will then begin to understand that Congress has set up a creature that serves only them and their campaigns – and it is too broken to fix…or, if you prefer…”too big to fail.”
This article can be found on line at: What happens when you turn Congress over to market forces?