At Common Dreams, Bill Moyers and Michael Winslip explain that you won’t see the way the health care debate is being resolved if you only spent time on Capitol Hill. No, it’s much slimier than that:
Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of The Washington Post — one of the most powerful people in DC — invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.
But CEO’s and lobbyists from the health care industry were invited, too, provided they forked over $25,000 a head — or up to a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy get-togethers. And what is the inducement offered? Nothing less, the invitation read, than “an exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will get it done.”
If you are not one of the highly-monied invitees or the “select few,” forget about the debate because, politically speaking, you amount to nothing at all. That’s the process. Go tell that to all the grade school students who are being taught lies in their civics classes. They are being taught that this is a democracy, and that our government is ultimately responsible to all of those people who were not invited to that fancy dinner. As the authors, explain, this particular dinner was canceled only after a copy of the invite was leaked to the web site Politico.com. It was, after all, a big misunderstanding.
This peak at how important bills are passed is not an isolated case. It reminds you that when Congress passed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, “the select few made sure it no longer contained the cramdown provision that would have allowed judges to readjust mortgages.”
Here’s another example:
Everyone knows the credit ratings agencies were co-conspirators with Wall Street in the shameful wilding that brought on the financial meltdown. But when the Obama administration came up with new reforms to prevent another crisis, the credit ratings agencies were given a pass. They’d been excused by “the select few who actually get it done.”
Shame on us. Shame on our leaders for following big business instead of leading.