Dollar Bill Phil Cashes In

Hark! Do I hear the cacaphonous sound of hurdy-gurdy music wafting in from the U.S. capitol? Yes, indeed -- that old Washington Merry-go-round is spinning its magic once again, and look who's getting a ride atop the carousel's golden pony this time -- Phil Gramm!

Yes, it's "Dollar Bill Phil," the money-grubbing senator from Texas whose 24-years in Congress were notable mainly for his, shall we say, "coquettish" willingness to do legislative favors for corporations and big bankers in exchange for their campaign cash. He's such a notorious hustler that the joke on Capitol Hill is that Phil spells Phillip, his formal name, "F-i-l-l-U-p," as in "Fill up my pockets with money." The word is that he even sews extra pockets in his suits.

Well, now, Ol' Phil is really cashing in on all the services he has rendered to the bankers over the years. In fact, he's becoming one! Having announced his retirement from the Senate a few months ago, a giddy Gramm has just announced that he's being picked up by something called UBS Warburg, which is the investment banking arm of Switzerland's largest financial empire. Phil turned demure when asked how much of a payoff he's getting, refusing to name the figure, but its definitely a multimillion-dollar bonanza for this former chair of the Senate banking committee.

The CEO of UBS Warburg says that Gramm's "experience makes him uniquely suited to assist our clients." Sure, his experience as a longtime law-writer who routinely used his public position to rig the rules to favor rich investors and fat-cat bankers over the rest of us makes him a natural to switch hats and become Warburg's in-house advisor on rule rigging.

So Washington's Merry-go-round just keeps turning, picking up yet another lawmaker and giving him a golden ride to the executive suite, paid for by the very industry he previously oversaw.


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