Letter: Criminals need to be punished
In the 1960s, the "payola" scandal surfaced within the music industry. DJs, who were found guilty of taking monetary "gifts" from record companies in return for continuously playing certain records on their radio shows, were fined $10,000 and received at least a one-year jail sentence.
Today, politicians who accept monetary gifts from the insurance industry should receive the same type of punishment, or worse. However, these "monetary gifts" are in the guise of campaign contributions, therefore, they are not perceived as being "illegal." Still, politicians are beholden to the insurance industry for these contributions, and in order to keep receiving them, they must do what the insurance companies want, and that is to block healthcare reform.
The Republicans are fighting healthcare reform by inciting fear and anger among their constituents. Some Democrats, like many Republicans, who have received millions of dollars in campaign contributions are fighting healthcare reform by insisting that certain amendments be added or certain provisions removed before they will vote for it, knowing full well that these changes would make others not want to vote in favor of such a bill. And then there is Sen. Lieberman who, as a Democrat, campaigned for a Republican presidential candidate, and now, supposedly, he's an Independent (really a Republican in disguise), who claims that it is his "moral obligation" to do whatever it takes to block the passage of any healthcare reform bill. Any way you look at it, the insurance industry will, undoubtedly, win in the end, thanks to their paid representatives (politicians).
Politicians, insurance and Wall Street bigwigs who are guilty of such conduct (payola or fraud) should lose their jobs, bonuses, pensions and health insurance. Why should they be rewarded for their misdeeds, and why should taxpayers pay politicians exorbitant amounts of money (pensions and healthcare for life) even if they are impeached or serve time in prison? If any of these people thought there was a chance of losing their jobs, pensions or health insurance if they continue down this path of corruption, perhaps they would think twice about misrepresenting the American people, and do less about representing their own self-interests.
Fraud by any other name is still fraud. Bribery by any other name is still bribery. And those people who are guilty of these crimes deserve to be treated as the criminals they are.