Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is desperate to regain some positive attention after last week’s debate gaffe. His poll numbers were declining before that, so now it’s time to rearrange the deck chairs.
Now he’s proposing legislation to ban congressfolk from insider stock trading on information they receive as part of their congressional duties. This is a great idea, and no doubt Perry could have proposed it before he started his uncontrolled descent, so why now?
Well, first of all Perry is aware that 60 Minutes just did a stinging piece on shameful congressional perks (one of which is the freedom to trade on non-public information that affects stocks). Watch the 60 Minutes clip, but be prepared to get mad.
Rick Perry may have trouble remembering things in a debate, but he’s not politically naive. His proposal is a simple calculated ploy, one basd on the assumption that voters in our country are easily manipulated and poorly informed.
Congress isn’t going to pass a bill like the one Rick Perry is now proposing. Other people have proposed such a bill and it’s never even gotten to committee. But, once again, a similar bill is being proposed by Massachussetts Senator (Rep.) Scott Brown. Let’s see how that goes…
[FLASH FORWARD TO 2014]
What happened to that bill on Congressional stock trading?
[SOUND OF CRICKETS]
If you want to brush up on how far those in power will go to manipulate the poorly informed public just revisit the whole Pentagon Papers fiasco. Almost everyone has heard of “the Pentagon Papers.” But hearing about it and “being informed about it” are not the same things.
I didn’t know as much I thought and then I watched the documentary called The Most Dangerous Man in America. You can watch it instantly on Netflix.
I highly recommend you get up to speed on political manipulation
So here’s what you should do. First, watch Most Dangerous Man. Then watch the 60 Minutes episode. At that point you’ll fully appreciate how unlikely it is for members of Congress to voluntarily give up their excessive power.
Closely study Nancy Pelosi’s reaction when 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft asks her a very sensible question about whether the perks she receives are reasonable. She is so taken aback that she’s almost spitting with rage. This is exactly what powerful people who have been doing something shameful do when they’re first discovered. (Go back and see how Nixon reacted as his misdeeds were uncovered).
Do you think most Americans would perceive the reporter’s question to Pelosi as deeply unfair? Is the question character assassination? Or is it a fair question?
Most people would probably perceive it as fair. Unless they have some financial stake in the matter.
There’s a huge disconnect between what’s reasonable, as percieved by ordinary citizens, and what congressmembers are doing. That disconnect is one reason for the many serious problems we are experiencing now in this country. How did we let the housing crisis get so out of control, for example?
The answer, as always, is a lot simpler when you follow the money. Most of it leads back to Washington, but not enough people are paying attention to this. And so they’re easily manipulated.
Politicians call those people “voters.”