I predict our elected officials in Washington will not be able to properly regulate Wall Street. Why not? Cash is king. It’s all about “show me the money!” Plus, we have a situation where we have allowed the fox to guard the henhouse.
First, when you put industry lobbyists together with government officials, the concept of “Money Matters” is taken to a whole new level. More than 1,500 lobbyists, executives, and bankers have made their way to one Senate committee which is discussing legislation to rein in derivatives. Committee members have personally received more than $22 million according to the New York Times.
Second, involves the revolving door. They start in Congress, they move to industry and a fat paycheck, and then they return to Congress to use their influence to avoid regulation. More than 125 former Congressional aides and lawmakers now work for financial firms as part of what is called “a multibillion-dollar effort to shape federal regulatory power.” Visa, the credit card company, has the most former Congressional officials with 37 lobbyists; followed closely by Goldman Sachs, Prudential, Citigroup, and the American Bankers Association. (From Public Citizen, an advocacy group that has pushed for tougher lobbying restrictions). A well-connected Congressional aide can expect $300,000-$600,000 per year and a former member of Congress will pull in $1-3 million as a lobbyist. Former House and Senate majority leaders are doing this.
We find ourselves in a deplorable situation. What can we, as citizens, do? Any money given to a member of Congress is a bribe in my opinion. We must not allow people to bribe our representatives, and we must not allow our representatives to take bribes. And, we must prevent those who work on Capitol Hill from going to work for industries regulated by the government. How can we accomplish this? First, we can vote. Out of every 10 eligible voters, only 4, or 5, or 6 vote in any given election. Next, we can insist our political parties provide us with candidates who are statesmen rather than politicians. We really don’t need those who brag they reject everything or those whose claim to fame is that he or she has followed party lines to the letter. Most of our elected representatives seem unable to think for themselves. They are party hacks who follow instructions from the top. The most important agenda item for every member of Congress is getting reelected. What ever happened to representing your constituents or doing things for the betterment of society? We deserve better, and unless we work together to solve this problem, we are going to suffer and suffer and suffer.