One of the dirty little secrets of Washington is that Republicans and Democrats have more in common with each other than either party has with ordinary Americans. Tim Carney has an excellent (but depressing) column in the Washington Examiner exposing how both Democrat and Republican lobbyists are raking in big buck from General Motors, even though the car company only exists because of massive government subsidies. As Tim writes, this scam redistributes wealth from you and me to well-connected millionaires:
If you’ve flown into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and your plane took the northern approach coming down the Potomac, you may have looked out the window at the five-, six- or seven-bedroom homes on both the Maryland and Virginia sides of the river, with three-car garages and swimming pools. Thanks to the Obama administration and General Motors, your tax dollars are now subsidizing the millionaire lobbyists who live in these neighborhoods. GM, the failed carmaker whose $400 million in monthly losses is borne mostly by U.S. taxpayers, has in recent months hired high-priced K Street lobbyists to petition Washington for subsidies, special tax breaks and other government favors on top of the $52 billion in aid the Treasury has already provided. …GM has since rehired two of its old K Street firms, the Duberstein Group and Greenberg Traurig, and picked up new representation in the firm GrayLoeffler. Rounding out GM’s K Street quartet is the well-connected Washington Tax Group, which began representing the company in 2007 and kept its affiliation with GM over the summer, according to a search of the House and Senate lobbying databases. …Among the four firms, 18 lobbyists are registered to represent GM, including many wealthy and well-connected revolving-door players from both parties. Former Reps. William Gray III, D-Pa., and Jim Bacchus, R-Fla., are both on GM retainer, as are fabled Republican and Democratic operatives Ken Duberstein (White House chief of staff under Ronald Reagan) and Michael Berman (counsel to Vice President Walter Mondale and campaign aide to every Democratic presidential nominee since LBJ). …GM, of course, is still owned mostly by the federal government and is still losing money — $1.2 billion in the third quarter. That means the company’s expenses are the taxpayer’s expenses. That means you are paying these lobbying fees. Put another way, the Obama administration, through GM, is transferring wealth from average Americans to millionaire former public officials. …I contacted the White House and the Treasury Department to ask whether the administration found this arrangement appropriate, but neither returned my calls and e-mails. None of the lobbying firms returned calls or e-mails, either. …The auto bailouts of Presidents Bush and Obama teach us once again that when government gets bigger, it’s the well-off who fare the best.