Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

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.

By: Redactor


  1. 2WarAbnVet says:

    The punishment for insider trading by Congressmen should be triple that of a normal citizen since they direct the course of the economy.

  2. There are problems with the definition of “insider trading.” Someone who has a fiduciary responsibility to others, such as a company official, should not be using his inside position to enrich himself at the expense of stockholders. That kind of “insider trading” should be punished. However, the definition has become broadened to the point that anyone who receives “inside information,” even those who have no fiduciary responsibility, such as someone who overhears a conversation, can now be prosecuted for “insider trading.” That’s ridiculous. If we keep this up, only those who are completely ignorant of an industry will be permitted to buy or sell stock in it.

    With regard to members of Congress, I would argue that they have the equivalent of a fiduciary responsibility to their constituents. For them to profit personally as a result of a bill they pass is not “honest graft,” it’s just plain old graft, and should be illegal. I’m reluctant to lump it in with genuine “insider trading,” but perhaps there’s no better term.

  3. Drik says:

    Accurate to have typed the word “our” in quotes in “our” representatives, as in questionable.

    Inaccurate to have not provided a set of quotes around the word “representatives” as well. Maybe a better term might have been “elected officials”.
    Or “potentates”.

    Something that does not provide the automatic assumption that they are automatically representing anyone but themselves.

    Madison warned that with both the cabels of the few and the confusion of a multitude that we end up with NO representation for the citizens.
    Which is where we are now.

  4. Tj says:

    The law was not so kind to Martha Stewart. How could this possibly be different? She also just had information and was not a broker on Wall Street at the time. It is more and more difficult for me to respect our elected officials.

    Then here in Washington State, only days after Tacoma voted to make marijuana the “least” priority in law enforcement, the DEA raided 15 dispensaries. Cute. Nothing like a little retaliation against the voters.

  5. Paul Jacob says:

    Drik — They are, indeed, representatives — just not OUR representatives. They represent themselves quite effectively!

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