By Jack E. Lohman
My recent visit to Jim Sensenbrenner’s Town Hall meeting would have been comical were it not so sad.
Sensenbrenner gets very offended when you imply that we have a corrupt political system. Like, this is the first time he’s heard about it?
“The system is working,” Jim says in his defense. “People are in jail!”
Of course some congressmen are in jail, Jim. Just not enough of them.
And the problem isn’t the illegal bribery that puts these people in jail, it’s the legal bribery that doesn’t put the rest of them there.
That corrupt system is called “campaign contributions,” and it stinks to high heaven. It has led our nation into near if not total bankruptcy, trashed the dollar bill, and destroyed our economy through deregulation of the financial and mortgage markets. All because of a massive increase in private interest dollars buying public policy.
Payola. Bribes. Regulation and deregulation is bought-and-paid-for, and Sensenbrenner denies it.
Nearly 250,000 jobs have been lost since January, and four airlines have closed up shop in just the last week. Obviously, with a $15 million net worth, Sensenbrenner doesn’t feel the pain. But the nation does.
Get this and get this straight: Our economy is not going to return until our jobs do. And the corporate cash that gave us NAFTA also created CAFTA, which Sensenbrenner voted for even after railing against it as a jobs killer.
Sensenbrenner defends lobbyists as having the same First Amendment right to petition congress as I do. And he’s right. But they petition with cash in wheelbarrows and I don’t, and that is what is destroying America.
Congressmen are allowing campaign cash to influence laws that kill US jobs and reward the companies that outsource them, but Jim takes offense at any inference of corruption.
Jim also doesn’t like talking about another conflict of interest, perhaps because it hits closer to home:
He owns a million dollars worth of pharmaceutical stocks, and voted for the $780 billion Medicare Drug Giveaway program to the pharmaceutical industry. It transfers dollars to the Pharma and insurance industry, and also mandates that Medicare not negotiate for lower drug prices. He says he voted that way “for the seniors.” If he really cared about seniors, he should have demanded that Medicare negotiate drug prices as the VA does, as they’ve cut costs to vets in half because of it.
He owns massive oil industry stocks, including a major investment in ExxonMobil, and they must love it too. He recently voted against restricting the tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies for Exxon, which has $38 billion annual profits.
He owns $5-7 million of defense industry stocks and has been instrumental in privatizing our army in Iraq and elsewhere. Halliburton and BlackWater must love him too. We are paying them 5 to 10 times more as private contractors than we do our own troops. That’s a deal most of us would love.
Yeah, there’s a lot of love to go around, and it’s nice when you’re a multimillionaire that benefited from the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. But that’s not the pain most of us felt. Our GOP congress turned a $300 billion surplus into a $600 billion deficit and started the House of Cards falling.
I wonder how they are liking it now?
Well, Jim didn’t like something, because he voted against the recent tax cuts for the poor and middle class, which he says was because it also covered those who were unemployed and paying no taxes at all.
Well, Duh! There are a lot of people that are not paying taxes today because the “fair trade” agreements he’s voted for have outsourced their jobs, and there are none available in the states so they’re unemployed as a result! And the deregulation he’s supported has trashed our economy, and nobody is hiring! So, what now?
Does he not feel any responsibility?
Sensenbrenner says he has no qualms voting on regulations that improve his private investments, and in fact, opposed legislation that would have forced all congressmen to put their investments in a blind trust. Current policy is worse than insider trading.
Sensenbrenner uses his town hall meetings as a campaign forum, and gets free taxpayer funding to support them. Perhaps if his opponent (Jim Burkee) were offered the same, this wouldn’t be such an issue.