Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

April 27, 2010

Rippy: Let’s stay with lobbying for a while longer

MT. VERNON — Every time I think that we have beat lobbying and the buying of our Congress to death, I see or read something new. I read another glaring example of how the powerful money laden special interest groups are still buying the votes of our Representatives and Senators to vote for or against anything that does not benefit their industry or group.

This is normally not what is in the best interest of the people. Excerpts from an article sent to me only reinforce my belief that any member of Congress that does not support banning all lobbyist money has only their pocketbook and re-election as a top priority. They certainly do not have the interest of the people they represent at the forefront as they should. The article is written by Edward Wyatt and Eric Lichtblau.

“Assessing the battle to overhaul the nation’s financial regulations recently, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, left no doubt about the consequences if Congress cracked down on his bank’s immense business in derivatives.

‘It will be negative,’ he said. ‘Depending on the real detail, it could be $700 million or a couple billion dollars.’

With so much money at stake, it is not surprising that more than 1,500 lobbyists, executives, bankers and others have made their way to the Senate committee that on Wednesday will take up legislation to rein in derivatives, the complex securities at the heart of the financial crisis, the billion-dollar bank bailouts and the fraud case filed last week against Goldman Sachs.

The forum for all this attention is not the usual banking and financial services committees, but rather the Senate Agriculture Committee, a group more accustomed to dealing with farm subsidies and national forest boundaries than with the more obscure corners of Wall Street.

A main weapon being wielded to fight the battle, of course, is money. Agriculture Committee members have received $22.8 million in this election cycle from people and organizations.”

It has become comical to watch them change parties just to get re-elected. Examples are all around us with Lieberman-Connecticut, Specter-Pennsylvania and Crisp-Florida and so on. The only thing they stand for is how to satisfy the special interests and getting funding for re-election.

I found it both enlightening and hard to believe that 47 percent of folks do not pay any income tax. I did not find it hard to believe that they would not have any interest in tax increases on income. Why should they? Increases have no effect on them.

I did not find it hard to believe that the drug companies increased prices reportedly over 9 percent prior to the passage of the health care reform bill. There will be a lot more increases in this industry from insurance companies, hospitals, etc., before the major changes occur in 2013. They have a large lobbying group with very deep pockets to buy the Congressional members that will protect their obscene profits and bonuses. We need to ask everyone who is running for office whether they are Democrat or Republican the following: Will you support banning all lobbying and funding of campaigns by special interest groups; Will you support the clean election reforms or Public financing of elections to enable the brightest and best a chance to help run our country; Will you support making all “earmarks” transparent with no hidden items so that the people can determine whether they make sense for our country; and Will you be part of stopping the practice of using amendments as bribes to get votes for items that do not benefit anyone except special interests.

Anyone who will not stand up for these changes, wish them well as you say good-bye. This has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican. It is about character and government by the people and for the people. If you are a Democrat, find a Democratic candidate that will stand up for these types of principals. If you are a Republican, find a Republican candidate who will stand up for these principals. Stop electing people to represent you because you like what they say. Think about what type of country you want for your kids and grandkids. Just remember the reason that we are in the trouble we are in today, with high unemployment, prices going up on most necessities, good jobs leaving our country, debt increasing daily and a grim future for the next generations. The reason is our corrupt Congress that vote the way the lobbyists who fund them tell them to.

  • James Rippy  is a former manager of what is now Continental Tire North America in Mt. Vernon and has authored a book titled “Executivitis.” E-mail him at rippyj@charter.net.

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