Monday, January 4, 2021

Yellen at the Top of My Lungs

Politico just reported that numerous Biden Cabinet appointees are beneficiaries of the "revolving door" pattern whereby people go from business to government to business and back again.  In particular his Treasury nominee, Janet Yellen, has been paid $7.2 million to speak to Wall Street and other large corporations in just the past two years.  The report also mentioned Anthony Blinken and Avril Haines, but Yellen took in the most, and was featured in the lede.  So of course numerous Democratic trolls are attacking Politico for objecting to a woman's being paid fairly for her "intellectual property."  Would you pick on a man for doing it? they demanded.  Well, yes, I would: the left has criticized past presidents for cashing in after they left office, and not just presidents.

I think my favorite is Ronald Reagan, who was paid $2 million for a one-week junket to Japan in 1989, $1 million of that sum for just one speech.  But you know that killjoy leftists picked on a poor old retired man trying to earn some pin money with his "intellectual property" (a contradiction in terms where Reagan was concerned).  The Washington Post sympathized at the time:

And yet, for those who remembered Reagan in the White House, it was strange to see him so stripped of the powers of the presidency. There was no Air Force One, no phalanx of Secret Service, no Baker, Deaver and Meese, no White House spin doctors to tell the press what the president really meant to say. Reagan arrived at one banquet with a trumpet fanfare but no "Hail to the Chief," and left to the bittersweet strains of a Mozart string quartet. He was more on his own than he had been in eight years.

What a guy.  Makes you cry.  And I did.

Jon Schwarz made a typically good point

Democrats always say this about their favs — sure, they've cashed in *out of office*, but it will have no effect on their actions. So...why shouldn't Wall Street be able to give bags of cash to Yellen & co while they're *in office*? They're incorruptible!
Might as well.

My favorite take on the Yellen story, though, comes from David J. Rothkopf, a writer who I think blocked me on Twitter some time ago, but now that my account has been suspended I can see him again:

Would you rather she'd taken a vow of poverty and spent her non-government work time sitting in a convent scribbling formulas with a quill pen?  Is she, a woman who devoted her life to an incredibly distinguished career in academia & public service, not entitled to earn a living?

This is like the Catholics who try to rebut criticisms of papal ostentation by accusing you of wanting the Holy Father to starve in the gutter.  The idea that Yellen might earn a living by working -- say, two minimum-age jobs with no benefits, as so many Americans must do these days.  A year or two spent living paycheck to paycheck would give her lived experience that would make her a better Treasury Secretary.  Speaking to big corporations isn't earning money, and it's absurd for Rothkopf to pretend it is.