November 15, 2011
A Modest Proposal

Here’s the lead paragraph of a story from The Atlantic Wire:

A 60 Minutes report on Sunday examined the ways that members of Congress trade on inside, privileged information to make themselves rich — without breaking any laws. Even though many positions in the federal government are bound by conflict of interest laws, Congresspeople are exempt from insider trading rules and are perfectly free to make business deals based on information they learn through their jobs…

My wife’s grandfather (grandfather-in-law?) was the late and truly great senator from Nebraska, George Norris. During his forty years in Congress he never bought stocks or bonds in any private enterprise, on the grounds that it would be impossible to avoid conflicts of interest. The only securities he would buy were U.S. government bonds.

When he died in 1944, he left behind a small house in McCook, Nebraska, and an old Buick sedan — as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Rural Electrification Act, and the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I’m not suggesting by this ancient history that those were the good old days. There has never been a golden age for ethics on Capitol Hill, nor will there ever. Boys will be boys.

I’’m just sayin’, that’s all.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at November 15, 2011 01:29 PM
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What I think I am hearing you saying is this: Why does this man have to be regarded today as a hero? Shouldn't every public servant seek in this way to serve THE PEOPLE;not just himself? Sadly, serving themselves seems to be the purpose and style of our elected officials today. There are not many heroes.

Posted by: Mary Faye on November 18, 2011 3:18 PM
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