Merry Christmas Special Interests and Big Money Donors

Money out of politicsOnce again our elected politicians in Washington prove the Peter Principle is spot on.

Peter Principle (my version for politicians): Employees stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and “politicians rise to the level of their incompetence (Congress).

The House and the Senate have negotiated and passed a colossal $1.1 trillion  spending bill. Now this should be a good thing, considering the blood-letting involved with the last government funding bill.

Since the Republicans are still a minority in the Senate, they needed to pass a spending bill to prevent another government shutdown. Somehow, they were able to control their more belligerent and confrontational factions that were pressing for a government shutdown over Obama’s immigration plan (last time it was over ObamaCare) and passed a spending bill that did no major damage to them. Of course, they did load it up with special interest demands from their big money donors and everything else they haven’t been able to get passed. What better way to get a bunch of bad legislation passed than to attach it to a critical government funding bill that has to be approved at the last minute. After all, how many of our hard-working politicians do you think are going to read through a 1600+ page bill.  Fortunately some did and the Republicans had to negotiate a few of their bad bills away, but don’t be fooled, the Republicans will be sharpening their scissors while they wait to take over as the majority next year. I think this bill is just a glimpse of the future to come.

Here’s just a few examples of special interest legislation that was passed as part of the government funding bill:

Wall Street

Once again Congress shows their loyalty to the big money at Wall Street. They included (and passed) a provision that rolls back financial regulations and will allow the biggest banks in the country (Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan, etc.) to continue to gamble FDIC-insured money in the high-risk derivatives market. This means that if we have another economic and/or financial collapse, like the last one which they caused, we taxpayers will once again bail them out for all their greedy and bad business dealings. Even worse, Congress didn’t even write the bill, lobbyists for Citigroup did.  And Congress submitted the bill almost verbatim as it was written by Citigroup (aka Wall Street). Merry Christmas Wall Street.

Big Money

Neatly packed into the bill was a provision that will increase tenfold the amount the super-wealthy (1%) can make in campaign contributions to their favorite political party committees.  Merry Christmas Koch Brothers.

Military-Industrial Complex

Our politicians continue to support the Military-industrial Complex by awarding them over 50% of the $1.1 trillion spending bill ($585 billion). This will give the war hawks in Congress (John McCain) the tools necessary for waging perpetual war (while also furthering their political interests) and giving the defense contractors lucrative multi-million or multi-billion dollar contracts. Merry Christmas Military-Industrial Complex.

Special Interests

The Republicans, led by John McCain, used the defense bill to shelter a massive public lands swap which gives sacred Native American lands to a foreign company that owns a uranium mine with Iran. In this case, the addition of the Arizona swap and the other land measures were never discussed in public, and were added during secret negotiations between the House and Senate Armed Services Committee. Even worse, after the swap, this land will be private property and not subject to federal environmental reviews.  Merry Christmas John McCain and Special Interest Donors.

Now seriously, are all these provisions critical to the government funding bill? With the exception of a reasonable defense bill, NO.

This is politics at it’s best. They can’t do their jobs over the course of the past year so they pack everything into a last minute, must-pass, critical bill and the country as a whole suffers when it’s passed.

Closing thought.  Not that they belong in this bill, but I haven’t seen any special interest provisions in this bill that addresses the jobs problem, the economy, clean energy, climate change, inequality, etc. I guess lobbyists for these issues just don’t donate enough to our politicians to warrant sneaking in a bill that would fund a cause that would actually be in the best interest of the other 99% of the American people and the country.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/elizabeth-warren-citigroup-bill_n_6318446.html

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-l-borosage/the-budget-deal-this-is-w_b_6315846.html

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