Friday, July 3, 2009

how the US government works III

The US Govnernment sets policy. Groups lobby the Government to get their policy ideas adoptoed by the Government. The more money and power you have the more pull you have when it comes to lobbying. Most groups, like say a health insurance company who wants to lobby will follow a few protocals. They will donate money to political campains. They will establish front groups to act like independent research outfits spewing out facts that support the health insurance companies stance. And the most imporant piece is for the insurance company to hire Grade A lobbyists, who are very powerful, retired politicians, who a) understand how policy is made, and b) have friends still making policy. Oh yea i forgot the other way is for the insurance company to promise to hire the politicians who help them put the policy into law, with very large salaries, after said law is made. Some call this a bribe.

Some companies, ahem ahem, Goldman Sachs, Ahem, have so much power that they skip to the head of the line. Matt Taibbi, a reporter with the Rolling Stones Magazine has a great peice coming out about the power of Goldman Sachs, over the past hundred years. But more importantly, Goldman has slowly been placing its loyal worker bees throughout the halls of power, so that when Goldman wants policy made they just ask the Treasury and its done, no congress, no vote, no democracy.

Matt tells the story that in 2004 Goldman asked the Treasury Department (which was run by ex Goldman CEO Paulson), to allow them a loophole so they dont have to follow the regulations requiring 1 dollar to physically be in your bak for every 12 dollars the bank lends out. Paulson simply walked over the SCC, the bank regulaters, asked for an exemption for four banks and was granted it. The end result being that now these four banks were able to lend out money without having any money physically in their bank.

Some gig huh. Well at least for two of the banks. Because the other two are no longer operating, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Sterns. As Bruno would say, "Coincidence, I think not."

Must be sweet to have that much pull. What would you ask for with that much pull? I would ask for all these banking shmoes, all the oil company execs, all the health insurance deniers (of claims, not those who deny the existance of health insurance, that would be an interested Dave Chappelle skit), to be investigated and arrested along with all the government officials who act in a manner unbecoming of a US representative.

That would be a good idea for a movie. A few regular guys that have more pull with the government than anyone else. And anything they ask for they get.

What would you ask for?

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