Washington DC, where cash is king

In a recent Sean Hannity program entitled, Boomtown, his 2 guests used the entire hour to show how corrupt Washington DC politics has become. "While one out of every 6 Americans wonder where their next meal is coming from, Washington DC has the highest rate of fine wine consumption in the United States," said author Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute. Mr. Schweizer also pointed out that one out of four Americans has a mortgage that is underwater, while 7 out of 10 of the wealthiest counties in the nation are in the DC area. Furthermore, DC now has the highest per capita income in the US, recently passing Silicon Valley. How was this wealth created in a geographical area that doesn't produce a product or create anything the public wants to purchase? Other boomtowns in our history became prosperous because they offered something to build upon. DC, however, offers nothing but connections to power and patronage. The result is a permanent political class invested in the growth of government as they grow their personal portfolios.

According to Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, Hannity's other guest, an aristocracy has taken over because of greedy officials who parcel out patronage to relatives, friends and business associates. The federal government employs 245,000 people, and the average pay and other compensation is about $120,000. Keep in mind, in addition to the president and vice-president there are only 435 members of Congress and 100 Senators. That leaves over 244,000 others being paid handsomely by the taxpayers, most of whom earn considerably less than the people working for them. The Founders of this great nation never intended that our elected leaders would run for office in order to make a career out of it and enrich themselves like potentates along the way. In the spirit of national service, people would leave their businesses, come to Washington and use their leadership skills to improve the lives of their fellow Americans. After a few months or years, they would return to their chosen professions, having done their part for their country. Not anymore! These days, because corruption has become so bold and virtually accepted, the best and the brightest view politics as a road to riches, flocking to the nation's capital to get their pot of gold.

The public has been lulled into believing that the 2 political parties are actually fighting about differences in ideology, while it seems they're really fighting for more personal wealth. Though we look at political maps indicating red and blue, i.e., Republican and Democrat, the fact is, the most important color is green. Access to power is the job of lobbyists, and they have enough green to pave the way to the highest echelons. Lobbying takes place on K Street in DC, only a stone's throw from the White House and the Capital. Representing hundreds of successful companies, all of whom need influence in those powerful committee rooms, lobbyists spread the wealth around lavishly in order to buy favors. Forget about love of country; these deals are all about love of money! For example, when we view politicians taking one side or another on a budgetary issue, it's similar to professional wrestling because the outcome is predetermined, and each side gets a piece of the action. Many members of Congress (House and Senate) have relatives who are registered lobbyists.

One Florida Congressman, who's been in office since 1971, is the leader of a subcommittee that controls defense spending. He has a daughter-in-law who has been a lobbyist for defense contracts for more than a decade and has been very successful in her efforts. How about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? He has several family members who have been lobbyists for a number of companies. One of his sons has lobbied on behalf of several groups who have secured $50 million in earmarks. Another son is working on a $5 billion venture involving a Chinese effort to develop an energy project in the desert of Nevada, and his father personally helped to push the project through. Does the senator view his actions as corrupt? If he does, he's not concerned about any damage it might do to his future. That's because there are no term limits and he has no fear of losing an election. Moreover, since corruption appears to be the rule, rather than the exception, his colleagues are not likely to take a stand against him.

Hannity's program may not have told us something we didn't already know, but it did so more elaborately and alarmingly. Nevertheless, with so many people on the public dole, my fear is that they don't care how much largess their reps are accumulating as long as those public assistance checks are in the mail. God help us!