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Friday, December 30, 2011

Throw Them All Out

Yesterday I finished reading the book with the title of this post. I find it more than disheartening that our leaders both in the business and political spheres are in business and public office more to enrich themselves than they are to serve the public. I urge you to read the book before the next election.

The author, Peter, Schweizer, describes ways that national political leaders use their insider knowledge to enrich themselves. This includes stock purchases, land deals, and more. This involves both parties, and several administrations back. It's not a Right vs. Left or Republican vs. Democrat issue. It's about politicians who are enriching themselves in ways that you or I would go to jail for. It's about them feeding at the public trough and helping their business friends get rich and avoid the consequences of their poor actions.

These politicians and business leaders are responsible for creating the economic climate that has created our current financial crisis. But we, the voting public are to blame as well. We vote by party, or because our "guy in DC" has influence or gives us goodies. Well, the time has come to end all of this.

So what's to do?
Schweizer elaborates:
  • trading on insider, nonpublic information must be illegal for everyone, including government officials and their aids.
  • members of Congress must not be allowed to trade stocks in companies in areas where they are involved in committee work
  • whistleblower laws must apply to Congress
  • earmarks that Congressional members receive any benefit for must end
  • no campaign contributions must be allowed when Congress is in session
  • the federal government must not make loans or give grants. The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.
His end paragraph is telling:
"The problems we face today are not the result of the individual failings of a few leaders. What we face is a system that is compromised by the perception that U.S. public policy is a marketable commodity. It's time to fix it. Let's relegate the Government Rich to the ashbin of history. If you want to get rich, do it the legitimate way. Go out and produce a useful good or service that you have a right to sell." (176, see link above for the reference)

So, my opinion is to vote against everyone in Congress and the White House and start over. Send them a warning that we will not, we CANNOT continue with things as usual. Otherwise there won't be much of a country left to pass along to our children and grandchildren.