End the duopoly

Revenge of the Obamacrats

Sarah Blesener / The New York ​Times / Redux Updated at 9:01 p.m. ET on May 26, 2020

Washington legend has it that bureaucrats and political operatives overwhelmingly stay in issue advocacy or politics after their bosses leave office. But that notion is decades out-of-date. These days, many top officials who leave the D.C. swamp go directly to the private sector—and are paid handsomely to do so.

More of former President Barack Obama’s top aides entered the private sector than from any other administration in the past four decades, including those of Republicans George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, according to Kathryn Tenpas, a nonresident senior fellow at the Governance Institute at the Brookings Institution. Former Obama officials took high-paying jobs at companies including Amazon, Uber, Morgan Stanley, and Lockheed Martin.

Yet as Trump’s aggressive rollback of Obama-administration policies has continued, several former Obama officials who went into academia or took private-sector jobs have since returned to politics or advocacy work.

Take Gina McCarthy, who spent seven chaotic years in Washington, four of them as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Obama. McCarthy was happy to pass the first years of the Trump administration in Boston, where she got to […]

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