Splitting the country between the “99 percent” and the “1 percent” scapegoats successful people. Being rich is a good thing . . . unless the wealth is obtained dishonestly.
Which brings me to Congress.
Last Sunday, 60 Minutes featured Peter Schweizer, author of Throw Them All Out, a new book detailing what he calls “soft corruption” — unethical behavior that may not quite qualify as illegal.
Schweizer points out that members of Congress are not covered by laws against insider trading, thus legally able to “leverage” the information they receive to “enrich themselves.” At the cusp of the 2008 financial meltdown, Rep. Spencer Bacchus (R-Ala.) was receiving special briefings from the Treasury Secretary and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and “buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down.”
Bacchus is hardly alone. During the healthcare debate, numerous congressmen traded healthcare stocks.
Then there are IPOs — initial public offerings of stock — which are usually available only to major investors. Somehow Speaker Nancy Pelosi was cut in on a least eight IPOs, including a lucrative one from VISA . . . at a time major credit card legislation was pending in the House.
None of “our” representatives deigned to openly discuss their amazing financial acumen. But as 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft confirmed, “Most former congressmen and senators manage to leave Washington, if they ever leave Washington, with more money in their pockets than they had when they arrived.”
Funny, they haven’t done nearly so well handling the country’s finances.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.