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How About a Congressional ‘Clawback’ for Taxpayers

Obama's pay czar proposes taking back monies already legally paid to executives. Why not try the same thing on congressmen?

by
James Lewis

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October 8, 2009 - 12:00 am
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Suppose you’re a Blue Dog Democrat, and you tell your party leaders you’re going to vote for ObamaCare, and then swear up and down to your home district that you’ll never, never increase their taxes. Just like the president. It’s a flagrant lie, but just say it with a straight face and a sincere look in your eyes, and the media won’t dare to ask any follow-ups. If they do, you just brazen it out.

That’s what we are seeing today at the very top.

If you’re a Blue Dog demagogue, your district may be ready to run you out of town. The media can afford to sneer at the tea parties and the town halls and a million taxpayers marching through D.C. You can’t. You’re afraid of losing your job in 2010.

But suppose Rahm calls and makes certain promises. For example:

If you lose next year, we’ll make you Junior White House Czar In Charge of Pork Distribution.

Or:

If you lose next year, we know a K Street lobbying firm that needs you. Name of Tom Daschle. You’ll be very rich very quick, if you follow my advice.

The voters might think they can throw the bums out. But the career politicians are thinking:

So what if I lose? If I listen to Rahm I’ll just get a promotion: more power, more money, more big titles. I’ve got nothing to lose. Screw the voters. Obama gets my medical take-over vote.

Let’s assume that Rahm and Harry and Nancy have figured this out. How can the voters keep them accountable? There’s no clear way. If you defeat your local Blue Dog fair and square, she or he might just get a fabulous job in the White House as the new czar of czars. What can the voters do? That’s the nature of political machines. Elections mean nothing. Michelle Obama grew up in the Chicago Machine. It’s in her blood.

I think there’s an answer, but it’s not a nice answer. If “nice” is your top priority, get ready to lose your country. These guys play by Chicago rules, ACORN subdivision. It’s in ACORN’s manual for organizers: “this is a mass organization directed at political power where might makes right.” (Italics added.)

The not-nice answer is to follow the lead of Obama’s salary czar, Kenneth Feinberg, who has announced he will determine salaries for “the top 25 employees at AIG, Bank of America, Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, Citigroup, General Motors and GMAC. … Specifically, Feinberg claimed broad and ‘binding’ authority over executive compensation, including the ability to ‘claw back’ money already paid, and he is weighing how and whether to use that power.”

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