Friday, November 19, 2010

We're Running for Congress!

Sure, we have to check our ethics at the door, but so what? Times are tough, and Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

Seriously, people. Here's how Gawker sums it up:

From 2008 to 2009, the median household net worth for a member of Congress went up 19 percent. During the same time, the national median plummeted by 15 percent. This is known as a plutocracy.
This is based on a detailed study from the Center for Open and Responsive Politics. Which is well worth a read.

Why does it matter? Heres why, from the Open and Responsive report:

The most popular investment among congressional members reads as [sic] a who’s who list of the most powerful corporate political forces in Washington, D.C. -- companies that each spend millions, if not tens of millions of dollars each year lobbying federal officials. Many of them likewise donate millions of dollars to federal candidates each election cycle through their top employees and political action committees.

gelogo.jpgWith 82 current members of Congress invested, General Electric tops this list. It’s followed by Bank of America (63), Cisco Systems (61), Proctor & Gamble (61) and Microsoft (54).

Apple, with 42 current congressional investors, edges IBM, with 41. Coca-Cola’s 39 congressional investors pop it a notch above PepsiCo, with 36.

BPlogo.jpgAnd at least 20 current members of Congress were also last year invested in companies that found themselves the subject of congressional or federal agency inquiries, including Goldman Sachs and BP.

Furthermore, the companies behind a number of lawmakers’ favorite investments played key roles in lobbying Congress on two of the most critical legislative initiatives of the past two years: health care reform and financial regulatory reform.

Wow. No conflict of interest there, huh? Especially not since the Supreme Court ruled that big companies can buy as many votes as they want.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

People who barely have bread have a right to know who butters the bread of their representatives.

Matt said...

I wonder to what extent we drive this by having a system in which you have to have too much money even to run for office successfully, and then more just to consider keeping your seat. On the other hand, my wife and I just began to invest for retirement, and where is our money? In funds that also invest in these big names. Because we're scared to lose it! Capitalism butters its own bread.

Father Anonymous said...

Yeah, we drive it. I think the two things -- expensive campaigns and fewer limits on corporate spending -- feed each other.

On the other hand, greed drives it too. So even if we weren't driving, elected officials would probably keep on getting richer.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

When I've heard people complain about the salaries of the representatives and senators, I've wondered if anybody truly thinks that they can maintain their house back home and another place to live in Washington DC. That's why some of those reps live in places where they just rent a room.

And then one hears that these people have to constantly attend fund raisers and other events to make sure that they can even think about running again.

Plus, it costs $$ to travel back home, and when home, they must travel the district to "keep in touch" with the people. And if they don't, they are out.

You'd think with the new media, there'd be a better way now.