Yes, yes, Nancy Pelosi is “historic.” You can’t hear or read a story about her without hearing how “historic” the first female Speaker of the House was. *YAWN* One way in which they never characterize her is how historic it is to LOSE control of the House twice as Speaker, which is a rare feat in modern times. But, whatever. She’s historic…and so was the Titanic.
Still, as she begins her long goodbye (I suspect she’ll ultimately resign just before the August recess next year), it’s important to note the wealth she has helped create in this country. No, I’m not talking about the trillions of our tax dollars she handed out to her donor and constituents, though that did make a lot of her fellow Democrats filthy rich. I’m talking about what made her and her family filthy rich.
Nancy Pelosi has never been poor. She comes from a politically connected family in Maryland, her father having served as the Mayor of Baltimore. She never missed a meal. Neither did her husband, Paul. That they’re rich has always been, that they’ve become mega-rich while Nancy engaged in “public service” is where the story takes a turn.
If I had known you could get so rich off “public service,” or in the case of another Baltimore Democrat, Mayor-elect Wes Moore, “helping the poor,” I might’ve chosen another professional field. (Moore has a net worth of $5 million, a pittance compared to Pelosi, but he’s been in the “charity” business, now that he’s entering “public service” expect his net worth to balloon.)
According to Open Secrets, Nancy had a net worth of $24 million in 2008. That managed to explode to $114 million by 2018. Did your net worth more than quadruple in those 10 years? Mine either.
Estimates now place her net worth between $200 and $300 million, with some as high as $400 million. Whatever the number is, she owes a lot of it to her husband’s stock trading.
Paul Pelosi is a gifted trader – knowing when to get in and out, turning profits at just the right moments. If only we could all be so talented…or have a spouse with access to information no one else does.
Imagine being able to know before anyone else whether certain government contracts or grants are going through, or not. Or having access to upcoming changes in laws or regulations that will positively or negatively impact entire industries before the public has any clue they were even being considered. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It sure does.
The weird thing is this: if you had access to any of this sort of information as a private citizen (meaning a non-government employee) and you acted on it, you’d likely go to jail for insider trading. But this very same information as a “public servant” is fair game and you can make yourself rich off it.
The difference between the two positions is the private sector person is subject to the rules, and a “public servant” makes them. That makes all the difference in the world.
One is illegal, the other is not. Maybe it’s time we level the playing field.
There was a half-hearted push to ban Members of Congress and other political officials from trading individual stocks, thereby allowing them to use their insider information to make themselves rich. It was never going anywhere beyond being showy because why would it? Who would disarm themselves like that?
Rather than try to ban them from cheating the system, how about we create a mutual fund that mirrors what they do?
I’m serious about this, we can name it the Pelosi Fund (or the Reid Fund after former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who came to the Senate a man of relatively modest means and retired with tens of millions of dollars) to honor her “historic” position. A hedge fund that chooses to hold or sell positions based on what Members of Congress and their families do.
Don’t ban them from trading stocks, get in on it. Let Members, their spouses, and their kids be free to trade whatever stocks they want in whatever quantities they want, they just have to give 2-3 hours of notice before their trades are executed. That would allow our new fund to decide if we want to follow suit or not, thereby leveling the playing field. They can continue to get rich, but so can we.
These people make the rules, so even if they change them they are going to leave themselves a workaround. Stop kidding yourselves into thinking you can hold them accountable and use them the way they’re using us: to get rich.
I don’t have the wherewithal to set up a hedge fund, so I’ll just take a beak-wetting commission in perpetuity for the idea, say 1 percent. I’m open to negotiations on that, but I think it’s about time we all get uber-rich the Nancy Pelosi way – by cheating the system. Let that be her lasting legacy. Enjoy retirement, Nan.