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Beltway Confidential

Joe Lieberman's revolving-door spin, and the profitability of bigger government

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Big Government,Lobbying,Revolving Door,Government Regulation

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman's new employer writes to tout his value:

"In today's heightened regulatory environment, his extensive legislative knowledge will help us navigate an increasingly complex marketplace."

It's also true that Lieberman played a role in heightening the regulatory environment, having voted for Dodd-Frank and most big-government programs to come across his desk. I think Lieberman supported and advanced whatever legislation he thought was best for the country, and I don't think Lieberman voted for bigger government in order to create more demand for his lobbying later on -- but his helping big government pass did have the effect, it appears, of increasing demand for his services.

Do we think this incentive has no subconscious or systemic effect on lawmakers and their staff? I think it does. I think the incentive is to increase government role in industry, but not so much as to crowd out the room for private profit. It also leaves lots of leeway to regulators.

See some of my pieces on the matter of incentives:

Bail them out, regulate them, then work for them

Delahunt, a lobbyist's lawmaker turned lobbyist

Could South Dakota elect a senator from K Street?

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