January 15, 2024

Jim Hightower: Congress’s Revolving Door

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Writer and radio commentator Jim Hightower wrote a reflection on what religion in public office doesn’t look like for the Progressive.

Hear it? What’s that sound? “Whoop, whoop, whoop!” Ooh, it’s Washington’s revolving door, allowing corporate interests to come directly inside Congress to pervert public policy.

That door is now spinning even faster, because there’s a new boss operator in Congress. He’s Mike Johnson, who Republicans recently unanimously chose to be their Speaker of the House. He’s a corporate dream—an affable ultra-conservative from Shreveport, Louisiana, who consistently backs the plutocratic agenda of Big Business over workers, the poor, consumers, and most other Americans. Moreover, Johnson maintains that it was God (!) who elevated him to his new position of authority, and that the Bible will guide his policy views.

Well, selected parts of the Bible—don’t expect much mercy, justice, or peacemaking from this hardcore laissez-faire ideologue. For example, guess who he’s chosen to be his director of policy? Big Pharma’s top Washington lobbyist! Dan Ziegler has been the chief influence peddler for a dozen multibillion-dollar drug giants, including Eli Lilly, Merck, and Pfizer. He has furiously opposed every legislative effort to stop the rampant price gouging by profiteering drug makers—even though 80 percent of Americans are clamoring for Congress to clamp down on their rip-offs. But we 80-percenters don’t control the revolving door—Mike does.

Johnson piously cloaks himself in both the Christian gospel and the libertarian myth of “free markets,” yet he has consistently pushed government action to restrict competition and protect drug monopolies. Now, in his first substantive action as speaker, he is literally bringing Big Pharma inside to sit beside him in the seat of legislative power.

On a day set aside to remember a pastor who actually brought the Word to the country, it’s a reminder of what we’re left with today. Read the full piece here

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