There are two levels of corruption in America.
1. Low/mid level, and
2. Large scale
America is blessed with an abundance of both.
Low or mid level corruption is the stuff of human nature. Either through “enticement” or simple “extortion” and force – we humans love corruption. The chance to make a buck off someone who controls, owns or otherwise can influence something. At the personal level people make little corrupt deals all the time. Move up to an organization or a larger gathering, such as a union or a corporation; school district or government council or some such opportunistic group and the dollars involved become significant.
Just a week ago we were treated to one more low/mid level corruption deal in Chicago. The boy mayor finds a crooked administrator who he “vetted” and tells his handpicked school board to hire her. She gets a big paycheck, but not enough for her so she promptly enters into a “no-bid” contract with a huge kickback. She is so ignorant that she actually documents the transaction – leaves an electronic trail. Who hired this ignorant, corrupt “public servant?” Corrupt mayor; corrupt school board; corrupt contracting businesses. We call this common, low/mid level corruption.
In certain places, on our fair earth, all these characters would be summarily gone. We mean, literally, gone. Particularly in certain Asian as well as Islamic cultures, this form of petty corruption results in a death sentence – summarily delivered. No appeals; no extended court and other legal shenanigans – just like the queen of hearts – off with their heads (or maybe a bullet to reduce the mess.)
Here in America, we have a different system of “justice” or resolution. If you have the power, and the attorneys, as well as the support of larger scale corruption (we will get to that in a minute) you skate. Live to corrupt someone or something tomorrow. America does not believe in swift and permanent resolution to corruption – unless you are powerless and the popular sentiment is overwhelmingly against you.
On to large scale corruption (LSC) – it is worthy of its own category. It costs everyone a ton of money. Not just a few hundred thousand here and there; or the occasional $20+ million dollar Chicago deal described above. No, LSC in America cost billions of dollars. Hundreds of billions of dollars. Trillions. Every citizen pays.
Almost always it involves the following cast of characters:
· A large political party – say, the democrats or the republicans
· A large organization – say a teachers union or several government employee unions (unions love LSC)
· Large business also loves a corrupt opportunity – usually their favorite is elimination of competition. Nothing like controlling a wide open commercial situation to charge more and deliver less (think of a cable TV company or beer company.)
With few exceptions, LSC has these characteristics:
· Legality. Not moral legality; real litigation proof legality. They get government to legalize their situation. That is the needed component of LSC – you can’t go to jail or get your head chopped off (figuratively of course in America) because your are operating within the law.
· Characterized as a public good. It is anything but – the scheme is never in the public good but it is presented in such fashion as to appear to benefit those who must pay for it. Lies.
· Never allow the public a direct voice or vote to stop it. Because they might. LSC operators always find ways, legal mumbo jumbo, to not let the people become organized to put an end to LSC.
· LSC is a Ponzi scheme; it must continue to expand to survive. LSC depends on finding new sources of funding because the money coming in is not invested for the future – it is distributed; spent; gone today. There is no public or future good associated with LSC.
· Charge more and deliver less – every time.
· Intimidation – worthy of its own essay. There are so many ways to intimidate – from simple silence, fear and shame all the way to false indictments, broken bones and strange disappearances/eliminations.
· Debt. You can’t have LSC (see Ponzi reference above) unless you can borrow; create debt. Lots of debt. Yes, those hundreds of billions of dollars of LSC quickly add up to trillions of dollars of debt (see running tally at top right of page).
· Difficult to stop. Actually, impossible to stop. LSC must kill itself. Also, worthy of its own essay (see reform characteristic below).
· One other thing about LSC – it requires so many participants – so many enablers – you don’t get laws passed and bureaucracies established to oversee LSC – and judges to figure out a way to ignore basic law and say, “looks good to me” and editorial writers to say, “this may be a problem but we see some good in it.” You get the idea – LSC is by definition, a conspiracy – pigs with lipstick.
· Reform it? We can’t think of any example of self imposed reformation of LSC. You might think Eliot Ness did but he didn’t – Capone was small potatoes. LSC must kill itself. It is a long and painful process.
So there you have it – some say our government is in turmoil because the two major parties cannot compromise. Others say it is due to the collapse of federalism – leave people alone in their local and state communities; limit federal government – no such thing as one size fits all. Some point to the forced cultural agenda of the progressive liberal socialist far left on the center and right center of the country. Vote buying with public monies. Or the wide open border policy while unemployment rolls expand geometrically. We agree that all these reasons play a role in our decline but if you seek the main reason, the principal cause of our decline – it is corruption. Simple human greed on the largest scale imaginable and the debt needed to finance it.
Most of us have no idea how much LSC is going on in America this very minute. Best not to think about it. Best to be fearful; afraid to even bring it up. It takes real courage to face LSC. Ask Bruce Rauner – he lives it every day. Barack Obama? Never did one thing in his entire life to face LSC. He and Hillary (and Bill) thrive off it. They are not alone. Know this - wherever politicians, bureaucrats and "public servants" get rich you have an abundance of LSC.