If I told you that there was a group of people out there that not only makes the rules but also profits from their inside knowledge of those rules…well, if you’re as cynical as I can be, the first word that would come to mind would be “Congress.”
I watched Steve Kroft’s report on 60 Minutes, and, like a lot of us, found myself unsatisfied, as if there was still much of the story remaining to be told. If CBS was able to identify that Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH) appear to have profited from their inside knowledge of pending legislation, what of the other 533 legislators? While Croft did touch on a couple of other legislators, the story as a whole was more chaff than wheat. This is a legitimate story of possible corruption that needs to be investigated in detail and honestly relayed, something that’s difficult to do in a 15:20 report. Nonetheless, where are the media organizations crawling all over this story? Where’s the righteous outrage from both sides of the political spectrum decrying and bemoaning the rampant hypocrisy and corruption evident in those who make our laws? What if it really is about using public service as a means to enrich oneself? How can we trust that our elected representatives have the best interest of the country at heart?
The truth is, we can’t…and therein lies the problem. Until and unless we demand that people like House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) stop using their position to inflate their stock portfolios and bank accounts, we’ll continue to be saddled with a legislative system fueld by and based on corruption and self-interest.
This is not a “red” or “blue” issue. While the “both sides do it argument” is something I generally dismiss as crap and the purview of those too lazy to take an honest look, in this case, both sides really are doing it. Corruption knows no ideological boundaries, and while one might legitimately question the ideological agenda of those investigating Congress, this is an issue that needs to see the light of day…unless we’re really OK with the idea of our elected representatives being primarily concerned with their own enrichment and self-aggrandizement.