By Tom Rhodes, 8/4/2014
Federally elected officials receive essentially upper middleclass wages. The also get pension that guarantee they live upper middle class or better lives for life with just a few years of service. They get to vote for their own pay raises. Not one or two but a disproportionate number of federal officials become millionaires, within a short time. Usually like Reid, who sold his energy stock and purchased healthcare stock, just as congress created laws crippling the energy sector and granting healthcare a massive increase in customers who will be punished by law if they don’t buy healthcare. If only the rest of us could force customers to purchase in what we just invested.
Being elected to federal office is supposed to be a “public service.” It is of course a fast way to the 1% club, through power and cronyism not hard work and providing a better service or product to your fellow man. You should note that as regulations that make it harder to start a business and compete with the current corporations that pay off government cronies, we see more Pelosi’s, Reid’s, and Bush’s in power. We hear the Clintons whining about being poor (with multi-million dollar contracts pending), etc.
Being elected to congress or the presidency pays well, and the retirement benefits are awesome, and should remain as such. But the perverse incentives to screw the American people and greed associated with being allowed to create rules that make such elected officials richer and more powerful than their station as public servants rightly deserve must be ended.
Here’s a radical idea to take away special interest and money’s control over federally elected officials. Create law that says once elected to any federal office you (and your spouse) must sell ALL your stocks, bonds, and investment properties, and invest ALL such money in US Savings Bonds. In fact not even have an interest bearing savings account at a bank, ALL savings must be in US Savings Bonds. While elected you may not have any other investments other than US Savings bonds, and may not hold any other employment, even self-employment, not even get paid for speaking engagements. And after leaving office for a period of time equal to the time served in office all investments must be in US Savings bonds, nor for that same time may you be employed by, consult for, or receive monies from any company or individual who was affected by your office.
Think about it, the only investment federal officials should be allowed to have is in the country. Currently congress is exempt from insider trading laws. Why, you ask. Because that is exactly how lobbyists and big business payoff elected officials for the favors they get. Corporate Cronyism is rampant, it is only so rampant because large corporations own federally elected officials.
This idea of limiting government officials to only investing in the government, would take away the ability to buy off federal officials. It would make many think twice about running for office as being elected would limit you to an upper middleclass life style, yes you would have a cushy pension and pretty much be set for life, but you would be giving up being in the 1%. Think about former VP’s Al Gore Jr. and Dick Cheney, Gore made himself wealthy on carbon trading and environmentalism, Cheney on the military industrial complex, the massive fortune both made was because they manipulated the system in ways illegal for the rest of us. If laws limiting investment and employment by federally elected officials were in play, both Gore and Cheney’s extremes would be limited.
This rule should of course include non-elected bureaucrats, cabinet members, etc. Those positions are public servants and should not be in positions where rich individuals and companies can have undue influence. Unlike the private sector, government jobs still come with fixed benefit pensions, part of accepting such a benefits, should be the removal of outside money to influence government bureaucrats. That’s right if you work for the Food and Drug Adminstration, you should not be able to invest in anything other than US Savings Bonds, and not work for Monsanto, Pfizer, etc. after leaving your job for a period equal to that of the years you’ve served. It’s not like anybody could imagine that the head of the FDA would be influenced by big pharmaceuticals or agribusiness if he/she knew there was a huge multi-million dollar gig waiting when they left “public service.” Limit all investment by government employees who have decision making authority, to savings bonds, and their employment by companies affected by their public service.
Of course it is a pipe dream expecting such a law to be enacted. Thinking the powerful, or those who seek power to give up guaranteed excess and being part of the 1% to serve their fellow Americans is a pipe dream. You have to know big business favors big regulations, it keeps the little guy from competing and gives them power in the industry.
Just compare income inequality with volume of government regulation and interference. Obviously more government means more money and power for the 1%. You want to do away with income inequality, you want to do away with abusive government, you want to take the money out of politics. It’s easy, limit politicians ability to profit from their actions in office, not limit what people not in office can do. Make it a simple choice, choose “public service” and you are choosing to only invest in US Savings Bonds, and giving up a chance at being in the 1%. If that were the choice you’d have less Dick Cheney’s and Harry Reid’s who’ve literally become millionaires with jobs that pay upper middle class wages.
Think about it, income inequality has dramatically increased in proportion to increase in government power. That is no accident.