On Being a Country Class Schmuck: We Get What We Deserve

 

“…Lyndon Johnson, while he served in the House and the Senate, told people to purchase advertising on his Austin ratio station, KBTC, in order to get his attention. LBJ also frequently used his power at the Federal Communication Commission to obtain licenses for his radio and television stations and to block competitors from invading his markets in Texas. His company, needless to say, prospered. An initial investment of $17,500 grew into a media empire worth millions. – Perter Schweizer, Throw Them All Out, Pages XXI-XXII

Continuing with my current agenda this morning, I came across a name…someone I was unfamiliar with…in the first chapter of Throw Them All Out. So I looked him up.

From Schweizer’s book, the story begins in early 2009 as the road to Obamacare begins. Just for fun, I will withhold his name until the end:

One of the more creative and cynical plays on health care reform came from Congressman [X] of [State].  [X] is a young politician who had just taken his congressional seat in January 2009. But he was clearly seen as a rising star, with an appointment to the powerful House Rules Committee. He also sits on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and the Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities. [X] is wealthy. He grew up amid privilege, and his family became enormously rich after founding and later selling [website/business].

Throughout 2009, [X] was a tireless advocate for Obamacare… …As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, he was involved in shepherding through one of the three pieces of legislation that would become the final bill. As a member of the powerful Rules Committee, he helped shape the parameters and procedures to secure passage of the bill in the House.

[Sidenote: Mostly lost to history now, that “passage” probably marks the beginning of the end of this little experiment. But that is for another time.]

None of this gave him pause when it came to investing in health care companies as he helped determine the fate of Obamacare. While [X] was praising the benefits of health care overhaul, he was buying millions of dollars’ worth of a private company called BrideHealth International. … One of the things that BridgeHealth offers is medical tourism: providing less expensive medical procedures in counties such China, Mexico, … In other words, [X] was betting that there could be more, not less, medical tourism after the passage of health care reform. Companies in the medical tourism industry generally agreed, and favored Obamacare. They did not believe the bill would actually contain costs…

[Sidenote: No thinking person actually believed it would contain costs…or “bend the cost curve down.” The “nonpartisan” CBO, acting as the most willing of whores for the Obama administration, was in on the con and provided all the right lies…er, I mean, models and projections. Schmucks believed it. But I digress.]

In all, [X] put between $7 million and $35 million into the company as the health care bill wended its way through Capitol Hill. When investment timing was crucial, [X]’s purchases often coincided with the work of his committees. …[X]’s office, not surprisingly, insists that his investments had no influence on his vote. … But people do not make multimillion-dollar investments in a vacuum. And [X] was well positioned to know the details of the massive bill as well as what amendments would or wouldn’t be considered.

As we all know, diversity is important in investing too:

Then there is the matter of his biotech investments. The health care reform bill that emerged from [X]’s  committees was also enormously beneficial for biotech companies.  […lots of words about “discovery credits” and “drug exclusivity”...]

Congressman [X] favored the discovery credit and longer exclusivity provisions. And he made three large purchases of an exchange-traded fund when his committees pushed through the bill. He bought between $750,000 and $1.5 million in [a conveniently selected fund] just weeks after the committee proposed to extent the exclusivity period.

That investment provided a 25% return in six months. Not bad. (Exit question: Which is more useless, the House Ethics Committee or tits on a boar hog?)

Now the kicker:

How much money did [X] make? We will probably never know. Curiously, having made these aggressive transaction throughout 2009, in January 2010 he suddenly converted his assets to a “qualified blind trust.” As we will see later, these blind trusts are not really blind, and they don’t prevent a politician from providing political intelligence to those who manage the accounts. In [X]’s case, the person handling his trust was a longtime friend and large campaign contributor… By creating the blind trust  [X] no longer had to disclose his stock transactions or profits.

How convenient.

Well, more than a decade has passed since these events. Maybe a little “Where are they now?” is in order. The missing name in the passages above is Jared Polis and, if my internet search this morning is accurate, it turns out he is currently the sitting Governor of Colorado.

I won’t pick on Colorado here…this phenomenon is clearly not limited to just them. In fact, over the last decade, our betters in the Ruling Class have decided it is not even worth the time and effort to hide the game from us anymore. We can now see it just about everywhere…they flaunt it, right in our faces. Pelosi, Reid, Kerry…and “we” largely don’t even care. We just continue to reward the corruption.

A country populated by schmucks is wholly unsuited to maintain the liberty passed to it by better generations.

Into the abyss…

_ _ _  . . .  _ _ _

P.S. RIP Mr. Codevilla

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  1. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    OSO?

    • #1
  2. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Corruption is an existential threat to America.  I think Biden is the most corrupt politician to ever be made president, so the population is getting worse at choosing leaders.   

    Footnote: KTBC now operates as “KLBJ” and has sibling “KLBJ-FM”.  There’s no forgetting the origin with that call-sign.  Both are leading stations in the area.  

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Corruption is an existential threat to America. I think Biden is the most corrupt politician to ever be made president, so the population is getting worse at choosing leaders.

    Footnote: KTBC now operates as “KLBJ” and has sibling “KLBJ-FM”. There’s no forgetting the origin with that call-sign. Both are leading stations in the area.

    I would say drop the use of threat since the task has been accomplished. The 2020 election was corrupted in many ways and to significant effect. There will be one opportunity to restore the constitutional republic in the 2022 and 2024 elections. 

    I don’t see that Donald Trump or any of his supporters yet speaking of decertifying the 2020 election help matters in any way. There is no constitutional process for any such action.

    • #3
  4. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    BDB (View Comment):

    OSO?

    ?

    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Can’t tell if  . . . – – – . . . Is just a flourish or Morse code.  Bottom of your post.   

    • #5
  6. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    BDB (View Comment):
    Can’t tell if . . . – – – . . . Is just a flourish or Morse code. Bottom of your post.

    Yes. Nice catch…and thanks for the attempt at a more subtle hint.

    Now I have to wonder how many times when posting on a full pot of coffee in the morning or well after the first six pack in the evening I have flipped back and forth between SOS and OSO. (Clearly, no formal training…or informal training…involved.) Now that you made me look, I found a nifty translator and I think I will change to this:

    ..-. .— -…

    I like to be part of the fad:

    [image redacted because of profanity]

    • #6
  7. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    NOTICE: This Member post has been promoted to the Main Feed. Content may have been edited / corrected from the original without attribution by Ricochet.

    • #7
  8. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    BDB (View Comment): OSO?

    With fresh eyes today, I really wish I hadn’t admitted my own stupidity and instead claimed that I somehow omitted the leading “Z”. Another missed opportunity to be one of the cool kids…

    • #8
  9. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    On the corruption scale, I would have rated this pretty high thirty years ago.  Now?  It’s barely worth a mention with all the nonsense taking place.  

    • #9
  10. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Jared lived two doors down from me at Princeton our freshman year. One night we rode to NYC and back – he was in the back of my 1976 F-250 pickup. 

    • #10
  11. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Centralization of power always increases corruption among a narrower group.  Decentralization reduces the corruptions size but spreads it, and  since most folks are not corrupt it actually works to the benefit of most when some rule of law is maintained. 

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Centralization of power always increases corruption among a narrower group. Decentralization reduces the corruptions size but spreads it, and since most folks are not corrupt it actually works to the benefit of most when some rule of law is maintained.

    All folks are corrupt. However not all folks have become Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi.

    • #12
  13. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    To the Biden crime family, heck, to most members of Congress, corruption is a feature, not a bug.

    • #13
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Centralization of power always increases corruption among a narrower group. Decentralization reduces the corruptions size but spreads it, and since most folks are not corrupt it actually works to the benefit of most when some rule of law is maintained.

    All folks are corrupt. However not all folks have become Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi.

    Corruption for personal gain and abuse of power are two bad features at any government level. Small distributed representative government power (as local as possible) with frequent elections, with integrity and recall provisions, offer an opportunity to minimize the effects of corruption and get the best possible government. America’s thirteen independent States founded the United States with these basic principles while delegating national defense and foreign affairs, along with a limited number of other functions deemed necessary to facilitate that union, to the federal government. With the passage of time the American people have allowed these principles to be ignored and centralized authority inappropriately in the federal government for functions that work better when governed at the state and local levels. If we were operating today as intended we could do better at managing the corruption and abuse of power we experience at the hands of federal government. What we face today in corruption and abuse of power cannot be overcome within our present operating mode. Power is in the federal complex and not with the people.

    https://newcons.org/2021/02/25/refinding-the-conservative-communitarian-tradition/

    • #14