Remember back in the 1980s, when Saturday mornings were filled with advertisements that claimed that cereals like Sugar Snaps or Frosted Flakes could be “part of this nutritious breakfast”? There’s a similar message now, actually, and it’s coming from the House of Representatives.
The difference: Instead of selling sugary cereals, the House of Representatives is selling insurance.
Insurance salesmen are infamous for their lack of of good timing, and that trait came through yesterday as Congress tried its hand at hawking insurance. Telling us all that we need to buy insurance industry products on the very day when insurance industry lobbyists managed to kill the public option was a tacky, tacky move.
Yet, that’s just what the House of Representatives did. At the request of Representative Judy Biggert, the House passed H. Res. 16, a resolution that begins, “Whereas life insurance is an essential part of a sound financial plan…” The resolution goes on, reading like a sales brochure: “Whereas individuals, families, and businesses can benefit from professional insurance and financial planning advice, including an assessment of their life insurance needs…”
The resolution is a commercial advertisement, inserted into law, and it isn’t an isolated incident. Lobbyists manage to get all kinds of commercial messages placed legislative form. Members of Congress are happy to pass these resolutions, hoping that if they do, they’ll be rewarded with campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to the industries they promote.
On the matter of H. Res. 16, the resolution providing a congressional advertisement for insurance, only one member of Congress had the guts to stand up to this outrageous commercial appropriation of the public square: Pete Stark voted no.
Thank you, Representative Stark, for refusing to sell out your principles as easily as your colleagues have done.