So says David Sirota, on OpenLeft just a while ago, who shared this lovely bit:
Simple, yep. Except that the Pope of Hope has said he's four-square for transitional change.
Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work:
TARP Money Becomes Pro-TARP Campaign Cash
by: David Sirota
Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 15:00
The Sunday Denver Post and Roll Call both tell us that the financial industry is converting a portion of our taxpayer bailouts into massive campaign contributions to key lawmakers - and those lawmakers are refusing to reject the money on behalf of taxpayers:In a way, this is nothing new - corporations have been taking taxpayer cash in the form of government contracts and then taken a portion of those contracts and given them back to politicians in the form of campaign contributions...which then keeps the contracts - and the campaign contributions - flowing.
Bailout Firms Pay Big to D.C.
After the biggest federal bailouts in U.S. history, top Washington lawmakers are largely unwilling to say whether they will continue to accept campaign contributions from some of their biggest donors: political action committees and employees of institutions that received the money.
"On a basic level, people see executives' salaries being paid in part by the government bailout and the executives are taking out that money and giving it back to legislators that made it available to them in the first place. It's not going to look good," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzed last year's contributions to Congress.
The top Democratic and Republican leaders refused to answer questions about whether they would take contributions from PACs, employees and executives of companies that received funds from the TARP.
The only difference is that when a government contract is awarded, the government is (theoretically) provided a service or a good. In the case of the bailout, the government is just giving the banks the money. In that way, the campaign contributions from bailed out banks are the highest-yield investment possible - the campaign contributions buy votes for a bailout, and the bailout recipients don't even have to provide a good or a service in return.
Meanwhile, both parties in D.C. both echo a "nothing to see here...move along" message, agreeing not to talk about the whole rip-off scheme when asked by the media.
Kleptocracy - it's just that simple.