The Senate May Be Paid to Vote, but the Cost Is Small Time

Who would possibly have thought that securing Obama’s
Fast Track authority for the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
trade treaty could have been bought and
paid for
? This is a major trade deal that, among other things, strips
national governments of their sovereign authority—including the United States.

Wonder of wonders, it has been done. Wonder of wonders, it
only cost business and industry a mere $1,148,971, an average of $17,676.48 ‘donated’
to each of the 65 “yea” votes. They probably could have achieved it even without
the additional 48 cents. My eyes mist over at the thought.
The most powerful nation on
the planet gives in on the cheap.

The terms of this treaty are so secret that Congress has
only been given brief glances at portions, sworn to secrecy and not even
allowed to take notes. Now with the passage of Fast Track, meaningful debate is
entirely removed from the process. Your jobs, cost of medicines, environmental
standards—even access to the internet is now entirely beyond the reach of your
elected officials to debate—all according to the entirely legal payoff of those you elected.
It is against the law to bribe your Senator or Representative with a paid
golf vacation or fancy dinner at a high-end Washington restaurant.
It is not against the law to ‘contribute’ $17,676.48 to his or her
campaign fund. It is not against the
law to ‘swing a deal’ to pay them to sit on your board of directors when they
retire or lose an election. It is not
against the law to ‘contribute’ millions to a campaign fund, have them decide not to run and keep the money.
These things are not against the law because Congress makes the laws.
But who would have thought that, with all that money and all that power, their votes for a trade deal worth trillions to
business and industry could be bought so cheap?
A number of years ago, in a
similar huff over similar issues, I rather tongue-in-cheek bought the domain and offered it
to anyone who would set up a Super PAC in that name, funded by small citizen
donations. A dollar a year would have put $340 million in the coffers.
That might have allowed the
guy on the street to outbid the $51,700 John McCain received in the first
quarter of 2015
to Fast Track their future. Didn’t that dude run for president
or something?
No one took me up on the offer, but what was once
tongue-in-cheek now simply looks cheeky.

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