The American Aristocracy

At one point in American history, and a point I hope we get back to, if an American worked hard enough, he could work his way up through the ranks to great success. He did not need a college degree. In the upper stratosphere, connections helped and eased the way. But outsider could still work their way in through hard work.

In Obama’s America, it is harder and harder. Both parties largely exist as corporate entities. Eric Cantor, defeated for re-election, has joined Moelis & Co as a vice chairman and managing director. According to The Hill

Cantor will focus on client development and providing strategic advice.
Initially, Cantor will be given $1.4 million in cash and stocks. He will receive a base salary of $400,000 per year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On top of that, Cantor will receive $1.6 million in incentive cash and stocks in 2015.

Had Cantor not been Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, he would most likely have not gotten that job. He will now be able to help grease paths for Moelis. Interestingly, though the publicly traded company was down 1% in trading yesterday, it’s stock went up yesterday morning when the news of Cantor’s hire hit the wire.

Word also came yesterday that Gazprombank, a Russian bank “targeted with sanctions by President Obama over the Ukraine crisis, has hired two former U.S. senators to lobby against those sanctions, according to a new disclosure filed with the Senate.” Former Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott, who have both lamented the lack of bipartisanship in Washington these days, will try to ease sanctions for the company.

This is, again, how Washington works. You, me, and Main Street depend on Washington not noticing us. Major companies, however, spend to attract Washington’s notice and feed off Washington. The permanence of Washington is something the Founders tried to avoid. In the past one hundred years, the new found permanence of Washington’s political class have created a new aristocracy.

Interestingly enough, right now only the base of the Republican Party is trying to do anything about it. Everyone else, despite their complaining, whining, and crying, seems perfectly happy with the status quo. They’d rather a corporatist Washington than a smaller Washington.