And then he plays the game with former congressman Billy Tauzin to help get Obamacare passed. Here is Obama’s 2008 campaign ad that was titled, “Billy.”
In 2010 Billy Tauzin was paid $11.5 million to lobby on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry to get their favored provisions into Obamacare. It can be argued that Billy Tauzin should have all that money taxed away from him on the theory that it was not earned by his prodigious policy or negotiating skills but rather by his Washington connections garnered by him when he was an elected congressman. Professor Glenn reynolds has proposed a plan for that, which Republicans could use to their advantage if they were smart.
But the root of the matter is with government and not so much with the individuals or companies that hire former congressmen as lobbyists. If government were not so powerful that a company needed to hire lobbyists with the best political connections to protect its business from being destroyed by government, these sorts of stories would not even exist. It still would be a good idea to adopt Professor Reynolds’ tax surtax but a downsized government has to be the mainstay of any plan to reduce the influence of powerful business lobbies and the crony capitalism that results.
For more see the excellent story that appears today at Bloomberg News, Obama and Billy Tauzin.