So much for the alleged "deficit reduction," huh? (As Atrios keeps repeating, nobody really cares about the deficit.) Bill Moyers interviews Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) about a corporate tax exemption for Amgen, the world's largest biotech company, that was included in the "fiscal cliff" deal:
A recent article in The New York Times reported on a cost-control exception provided to Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm. According to the report, the sweetheart deal — hidden in the Senate’s final “fiscal cliff” bill — will cost taxpayers half a billion dollars. Bill talks to U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) about the bi-partisan bill he recently sponsored to repeal that giveaway, and the political factors that allow such crony capitalism to occur.
“When there is this back room dealing that comes at enormous expense to taxpayers and enormous benefit to a private, well-connected, for-profit company, we’ve got to call it out,” Welch tells Bill. “Those members of Congress who are concerned about the institution, about our lack of credibility, about the necessity of us doing things that are in the public good as opposed to private gain, we’ve got to call it out.”
As Dave Johnson recently pointed out, let's not call this "crony capitalism" or plain old political reality. Call it what it is. It's corruption.
Our political culture is such that coercion, threats, extortion, blackmail and payoffs are now more common than not. And it all goes back to the same thing: Money in politics. Election finance reform would fix most of the problems. We've always had corrupt politicians, but we could at least minimize their impact.