Whether you rejoice or are disappointed when a member of Congress is defeated, you should never feel sorry for him. He still has a lucrative career ahead. Same for Congressional staff and upper-level bureaucrats who move back and forth between K Street and various Federal alphabet soup agencies. They are the true 1 percent.
More than 80 House and Senate members found themselves out of work when the 112th Congress closed its session on Jan. 3. They quickly lined up for lucrative positions on K Street: jobs paying six- and seven-figure salaries. Good for them, you say? Yes, it is, but not for you.
“They are attractive,” Julian Ha, practice leader for government affairs at the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles told The Hill. “Depending on the association and their needs, they can bring a big name and immediately leverage their Hill networks and maybe even senior government contacts to help the association. Members can be very valuable, but associations need to think through their needs and ask what they can bring.”
According to The Hill, former lawmakers increase their salaries from the $187,000 per year they made as public servants to from $400,000 to up to more than $1 million for the right position. And they still get to walk the halls of power and rub shoulders with their former compadres.
They also wield more power. “Lawmakers” don’t write bills; corporations and their lobbyists do. Sometimes those lobbyists are on Congressional staffs, as in the case of the Obamacare bill, which was written by Senator Max Baucus (Fascist-Mont.) staffer and former WellPoint vice president Liz Fowler.
In celebrating the bill’s passage, Baucus had high praise for Fowler.
“I wish to single out one person, and that one person is sitting next to me. Her name is Liz Fowler. Liz Fowler is my chief health counsel. Liz Fowler has put my health care team together. Liz Fowler worked for me many years ago, left for the private sector, and then came back when she realized she could be there at the creation of health care reform because she wanted that to be, in a certain sense, her profession lifetime goal. She put together the White Paper last November–2008–the 87-page document which became the basis, the foundation, the blueprint from which almost all health care measures in all bills on both sides of the aisle came,” he said.
It is essentially the same plan that the health-insurance-industry lobbying firm Health Insurance Association of America — now known as America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — wrote as Hillarycare in 1992. It’s a plan in which the insurance industry is making out like a bandit, as it is guaranteed millions of new customers and a bottomless Federal Treasury to pay their bills. Yes, it benefits those same insurance companies leftists so stridently loathed for the “unfair” way they covered only those who paid their bills. (Not that becoming entangled in the “deathcare” system that is American healthcare is a goal one should strive for, but that is a topic for another day.)
I wrote last week about Baucus. His former staffers who are now lobbyists all got their clients millions of dollars in special benefits from the recent fiscal cliff deal. In return, Baucus received thousands of dollars in political contributions from those companies’ political action committees. Meanwhile, almost 80 percent of Americans were socked with a tax increase. This is business as usual in Washington.
But it’s even worse when it’s the alphabet soup Federal agencies that are supposed to “protect us” by regulating our food, water, energy, etc. There is a revolving door between Congress, Congressional staffs, watchdog agencies and big corporations.
Typical is the case of Michael Taylor, the Deputy Commissioner for Foods for the Food and Drug Administration. Over his career, he has jumped from the FDA to a law firm representing Monsanto (where he worked specifically for Monsanto), back to the FDA, over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, back to the law firm, over to Monsanto, to a think tank, to a university and back to the FDA.
During his second tenure at the FDA, the agency’s policies regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were changed to allow them pass without scrutiny. GMOs are hazardous to the people and animals exposed to them, as I wrote here. Unfortunately, avoiding GMOs is becoming an impossible task. And who is the king of GMOs? None other than Monsanto.
About 90 percent of all corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically engineered seeds. The genetically modified products are now found in about 70 percent of all American processed food. And Monsanto controls about 90 percent of all genetically engineered seeds. In other words, Monsanto has almost a complete monopoly on the U.S. food supply. It accomplished this by becoming the fourth branch of government.
And now Obama, the “champion of the working man,” is promoting Jack Lew for Treasury Secretary to replace Turbo Tax Tim Geightner. Who is Jack Lew? Besides being the man with a signature that looks like it belongs on top of a Dolly Madison cupcake, Lew is a revolving door Congressional staffer/K Streeter/Wall Streeter.
As The Washington Examiner reports:
Lew was a Democratic congressional staffer in the 1980s, eventually becoming senior policy adviser to House Speaker Tip O’Neill and executive director of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. When O’Neill retired after the 1986 election, Lew cashed out on K Street.
Lew became a partner at Van Ness Feldman, where he specialized “in energy and regulatory law,” according to a New York Times article at the time. Back then lobbyists and lobbying firms did not need to register as such, but Van Ness Feldman’s focus was mainly Capitol Hill: It was founded by four Democratic congressional aides, and National Journal reported at the time that “lobbying accounts for nearly half the firm’s work.”
With Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, Lew passed back through the revolving door, serving eight years in the White House, including a stint from 1998 to 2001 as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
After that, Lew spent a few years as an administrator at New York University before going to Wall Street.
In June 2006, Lew joined Citigroup, one of the five largest banks in America, where he worked under fellow Clinton alumnus Robert Rubin. In January 2008, Lew became chief operating officer of Citi Alternative Investments.
Lew’s CAI unit engaged in exactly the sort of activity that Democrats blamed for the financial collapse and have aimed to ban through legislation: “proprietary trading.” That means Lew’s unit was investing Citi’s own money as opposed to helping clients make money.
Following Citibank’s bailout with taxpayer money, Lew pocketed an almost $1 million bonus from the financial services firm. So whose interests do you think will be forefront in Lew’s mind has he writes monetary policy?
This is the fascist system under which we currently exist. It’s fascism under the sweet-sounding name of democracy. It sounds sweet but stinks to high heaven.