Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hatch (R-UT): "It's Vicious Out There"

That's only one line from a vignette conversation between Specter and Hatch. (See update for sweet, sweet, addition)

Senators and Congresscritters ought to know about "vicious." It's how they collect campaign funds.

You know about extortion, don't you? Wiki uses this language, which will suffice for this post:

Extortion, outwresting, or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. ...

Congress goes into session and inevitably some law is introduced which will have a dramatic and negative effect on a given industry or industrial sector. Often, these proposals are not items of serious national interests; they are items which are "kinda nice ideas". Although this is not the example I was told about, the "list-all-food-ingredients-on-your-marquee" legislation is a good example. It will be costly for ONE industry, but will have only a marginal impact on the health and welfare of US citizens. (Ideally, the legislation affects a small segment of industry or just a tiny little industry. That way, the racket works better.)

In other words, the proposal is 'nice' but certainly not 'necessary,' and there will not be a big public outcry.

Got the setup? Good.

So the legislation is introduced. The trade association gathers its forces and industry people visit their Congressmen and Senators. They're armed with facts, figures, and good arguments as to why the legislation should not pass. They are also armed with donations.

The legislation goes away.

Then, two years later, a new Congress convenes.

And the same damn legislative proposal is resurrected! Maybe it's a bit more draconian this time--it might eliminate an industry rather than merely cost a bunch of money; maybe not. Either way, it's a threat to legitimate domestic businesses.

The same trade association, the same Company execs, and the same lobbyists all troop back to DC, make the same arguments they did last time---and, of course, the same donations.

The legislation goes away.

Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

"Vicious," Senator, is not the right word for you and your ilk.

"Scum" or "greaseball" is more like it.

"Extortionist" fits, too.

But somehow, there's no US Attorney who is interested.

UPDATE: Roughly half of likely Utah voters surveyed in a poll say they would vote for someone other than U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch if he were up for re-election this year --AP/Yahoo

"Vicious," indeed.

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