Washington’s “revolving door” is like the weather: Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it — or anything much.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has an interesting idea: Tax the jump in salary that departing government officials often get when they sign up with a heavyweight lobbying or other influential outfit.
In his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to “close the revolving door.” It’s still open.
As a senator from Connecticut, Democrat Christopher Dodd earned $174,000 in his last year in office. In 2011 he became head of the Motion Picture Association of America at $1.2 million a year. U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) earned $158,000 in his last year in the House, 2004, and $2.06 million the next year as head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Congress is not unique. The regulatory and executive agencies display this behavior too. What the employer is trying to buy is knowledge, connections and influence. You could think of these as intangible capital, and the Reynolds tax as a form of capital gains tax.