I want to join Democratic lobbyists at Tosca's restaurant in Washington. I want to be written up in The Washington Post, as they were, as heroes of the Obama years. My salary needs are modest, insurers; my price is cheap for all I can win for you. I would expect $500,000 of guaranteed base pay per annum, plus either a $300,000 partnership stake with a law firm or equal stock options with a publicly traded insurer. And I would require a guaranteed bonus at holiday time of another $200,000 plus a performance bonus of $250,000 if I succeed in continuing oligopolistic power that allows the industry make record profits after healthcare reform.
I think I am worth it. Here is how I arrive at my calculations:
If I succeed in preserving price-fixing, unfair premiums and major pain on Americans and can persuade one of the 60 Democratic senators to filibuster the public option, this alone is worth my half-million dollar base salary. Hey, I have earned my crediblity, and will use it for you, insurers. I know it isn't hard to find a Democrat to filibuster real change, but think how much profit you'll make when I succeed!!!
But there is more. We all know that if my plan, which is your plan, insurers, succeeds, real Americans will go bankrupt, and some might even die for lack of healthcare they cannot afford under our new "reforms.” I feel bad for them, but if a Democrat like myself can perusade a Democratic senator or two to go along with this, I will feel much less bad with another quarter-million in my pocket, and it will probably cost you, insurers, another $100,000 of bundled money. But what the heck, think of the profits you will make from our new "reform"!
I admired Sen. Kennedy deeply, but as Chris Matthews said during the memorial for him, these public option supporters are like the PLO. I don't want to be accused of being the PLO. I would much rather make my million standing up for free enterprise capitalism and laissez-faire. If people go bankrupt because of healthcare costs, in our system that is their problem and if I am good enough to get a couple of Democrats to stand against a government takeover of healthcare, they can go to bankruptcy court, and we will go to Tosca's for lunch!!
So I am selling out. Things don't look great for the president politically, and the Gallup poll showed Republicans in Congress within two points of Democrats. So I have to make my move fast. If Republicans win in 2010, I will have my money in the bank before Election Day, and if a few Americans have to suffer, I gotta look out for No. 1, me, and make the big dough while the gettin's good.
I am selling out, but so are some of the president's big friends, and so many of my colleagues who used to work with me for Democratic leaders.
I am headed for Tosca's for lunch, and by the way, if you have any friends who work for banks raising your credit card rates, give them my business card, and if you know any polluters, it will cost them, but like many Democrats in this town, I am open for business!