“But Josh,” you’ll say, “shouldn’t our elected officials be allowed to be investors in the market just like any other citizen?”
And I’ll say yes, but not as active traders. In fact, I’d like to see them all paid in restricted shares of the Russell 2000 and Midcap 400 index ETFs. Let ’em have some real skin in the game, something serious on the table so that their interests are aligned a bit better with those of their constituents. I’d love to see a situation where Congressmen and women do better personally when the country is more prosperous overall, instead of the “we score no matter what” system which is currently in place.
And by the way, the fact that they’ve got so much time to trade and speculate in stocks should surprise no one – this current congress is the officially the LEAST PRODUCTIVE CONGRESS IN AMERICAN HISTORY according to Congressman Bill Campbell:
So far, only 107 bills have been signed into law. Over half of these were either naming something (like a post office) or extending an existing law that was scheduled to expire. several more were simple land transfers from government to government…
Furthermore, Congress has failed to send a single appropriations (budget/spending) bill to the President after a full month into the fiscal year. The is the first time Congress has failed to do so since 1987.
That’s like less than a third of what they usually get done, just for a bit of perspective.
Okay, so what in the hell are our civil servants in the Capitol up to then, if not their jobs? Simple- they’re fuckin’ around in the stock market! And why not, they’re all multi-millionaires with paid-for staff, schooling for their kids, health care, gym memberships, a better retirement plan than you could ever dream of and a lifetime of influence-peddling fees awaiting them after their career on The Hill. I’d be trading like a banshee too, who could blame them?
A new study done by the Washington Post:
One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.
The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010.
Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still considering the legislation. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, 68 to 62.
Read the rest of this article today and if you haven’t yet picked up Peter Schweizer‘s book Throw Them All Out, please do so. It will make you so mad you’ll want to rip a Yellow Pages in half.