Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why I feel so strongly

I have great animosities about plaintiffs' lawyers, and I have great animosities about politicians. I probably do not have similar animosities about insurance companies, drug companies, or tobacco companies, or about corporate executive or doctor compensation. This calls for explanation of myself.

I consider myself a realist about human motivations, particularly selfishness and greed. They are pervasive facts of life that are operative in many fields and professions. They are worse in some places. I would not single out insurance companies, tobacco companies, or physicians for any special condemnation because persons in that industry or profession want to make money for themselves.

I think corporate executive compensation at the top level is higher than it should be, and a lot of back scratching goes on in the way directors approve huge compensation packages basically utilizing someone else's money. I have mentioned earlier the phenomenon of exploitation of situations where a few people get a little bit of money from many people that adds up to a lot in total, and it not being worth the time and effort of a single person who is one of the many people to object strongly. This phenomenon exists with corporate executive compensation, and I am supportive of trying to find ways to counteract the phenomenon.

Some people are greatly bothered by doctors or drug companies doing what they do in order to make money from it. I think this is unrealistic. As I said, I think I am a realist about human motivation, and it is socialistic pie in the sky to be searching for a health care industry or and insurance industry or a drug industry in which profit seeking motivations are less than in other business activities.

So, then, what is it about politicians and plaintiffs lawyers that so strongly arouses my animosities?

My answer is that it is the pretense of either of those categories of persons that their self-serving, self-interested motivations are any less than the self-serving, self-interested motivations of the rest of us, and their extreme dishonesty or hypocrisy in trying to present themselves otherwise.

Take the politicians. There many ways to get to sources of disgust here. Let me throw out a few.

The Congressional approval level is at about 20%. Wouldn't you think a self-respecting group of public servants would engage in collective soul searching about why the public has such a low opinion of them and collectively want to improve their standing and, if they are unable to do so, resign and let others try to do a better job as public servants? The short answer is they are not self-respecting, and they do not deserve the public's respect.

How about campaign finance reform legislation that has been passed? Isn't that basically a collective confession by Congress that they cannot be trusted to receive campaign contributions and at the same time properly carry out proper representation of their constituients' interests? A self-respecting Congressman ought to be able to announce public, "you cannot trust me, I will resign, and you need to try to elect a trustworthy person." Again, there are not self-respecting persons in Congress, and they do not deserve the public's respect, and only abysmal approval ratings.

The Republicans took a licking in 2006 in part because of earmarks and the corruption of earmarks. As best I can tell, the Democrats are clinging tightly to earmarks, trying to find ways to make the public think they are doing something about it, but finding backdoor ways to continue earmarks.

The main positive thing about the low ratings of Congress is at least the politicians are not very successful in trying to portray themselves as other than self-seeking and self-serving, with little or no genuine motivation to fulfill their roles as public servants.

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