I’ve explained, over and over and over again, that big government is the mother’s milk of corruption. Simply stated, a convoluted tax code, bloated budget, and regulatory morass create endless opportunities for well-connected insiders to obtain unearned and undeserved wealth.
Is this evidence that Washington is broken?
In a column for Real Clear Politics., Mike Needham of Heritage Action suggests that the conventional wisdom is wrong. Washington actually works very well, but not for the American people.
Washington isn’t broken. It is a well-oiled machine that works for the well-connected and responds to the well-heeled. This corrupt nexus of favoritism and cronyism tends to leave hardworking Americans behind. …as we’ve seen with Obamacare, the bigger the government, the bigger the Bigs become.
Is he right? Well, let’s look at some evidence. We already know ObamaCare has been a boon for hacks from the Democratic Party.
But did you know that lots of GOP insiders also are cashing in because of ObamaCare?
Let’s not limit our analysis to Obamacare.
There are many other examples of how the folks in Washington live on Easy Street at our expense. For instance, they enjoy lavish junkets. Here’s what theWashington Post reported back in September.
As Congress returned Tuesday…, some 14 House members were resting up from a week-long trip to Hawaii. …It sounded like a fine journey via military jet (business class) to stay at the oceanfront Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu. Dinners were planned at the famous Hy’s Steak House — the superb porterhouse is always worth the $88.95 — and the upscale Roy’s Hawaii with its great fusion menu. (We hope they tried the lobster pot stickers.) …The schedule thoughtfully included substantial “executive time” in the afternoons. This, as Loop Fans know, is often a thinly veiled euphemism for some fine lounging at the pool, or exploring beautiful Hawaii.
This boondoggle was especially irksome to me since I was in Hawaii at the same time. But I had to pay my own way! And my hotel was right next to Hy’s Steak House, which had a very appealing menu, but I didn’t go because taxpayers weren’t financing my meals.
Speaking of integrity in D.C., here’s a story from the Washington Post that belongs in the is-anyone-actually-surprised category.
The Honest Tea firm, which makes organic iced tea, set up a stand offering bottles of its tea at 27 cities throughout the country, including D.C., and used the honor system by asking people to leave $1 in a box when they took a tea. But in the District’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, someone stole money from the box. Executives at Honest Tea wouldn’t say exactly how much was in the box but said it ranged between $5 to $20. The theft happened in the early morning, officials believe, and they did not report it to police. It was the first time in the six years that the company has been doing its experiment that someone has actually stolen money from the collection box, officials with Honest Tea said.
By the way, Dupont Circle is a ritzy part of town, not a low-income ghetto.
I’m guessing the thief is a lobbyist or bureaucrat, someone who already has a track record of taking other people’s money.
But if you really want to see Washington at its most unseemly, the Clinton machine symbolizes the corrupt nexus of big government and cronyism. Here are some passages from a report by Politico.
A spring 2012 email to Hillary Clinton’s top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, asked for help winning a presidential appointment for a supporter of the Clinton Foundation, according to a chain obtained by POLITICO. The messages illustrate the relationship between Clinton’s most trusted confidante and the private consulting company that asked for the favor, Teneo — a global firm that later hired Abedin. Abedin signed on with the company while she still held a State Department position, a dual employment that is now being examined by congressional investigators. …Abedin also worked as an adviser to the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit founded by former President Bill Clinton.
This is amazing. Working for an influence-peddling company while on the government payroll as well?!?
And speaking of influence peddling, check out these excerpts from another Politico story.
Campaigns are required to file reports detailing registered lobbyists who round up donations, but that number is only a small slice of the fundraisers who work in some capacity in Washington’s vast influence industry… A quarter of the “Hillblazers” who bundled $100,000 or more for Clinton work at lobbying firms or public affairs agencies lobby at the state level or otherwise make their living from influencing the government on behalf of special interests… Clinton received at least $5.4 million from professional influencers, compared with $3.2 million from registered lobbyists disclosed to the FEC. For Bush, the equivalent figures are $1.02 million and just under $408,000.
The Hill also has a story about D.C. insiders flocking to Hillary Clinton.
K Street is banking on Hillary Clinton, with more than twice as many Washington lobbyists donating to the former secretary of State’s presidential campaign than any other candidate. Clinton — the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination — received at least $625,703 from 316 registered lobbyists and corporate PACs during the first half of the year, according to disclosure forms. …Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ranks as a distant second in the influence industry, collecting $444,500 from 140 lobbyists.
And why are lobbyists coughing up cash?
For the simple reason that they want access. And with access to politicians, that means they get access to other people’s money.
…support from K Street can not only help boost a candidate, but also put lobbyists in good standing with the candidate in the event he or she takes the White House. …lobbyists have hedged their bets by supporting several candidates, sometimes at the request of clients, they told The Hill, asking for anonymity.
Though keep in mind that Ms. Clinton and her cronies are just the tip of the iceberg.
She’s more guilty than most for the simple reason that she actively wants to expand government, which would create even more opportunities for mischief.
Let’s also be fair in acknowledging that this problem exists in other countries. Indeed, it’s probably worse elsewhere.
Vote buying in India, for instance, can be especially challenging. Check out these passages from a Reuters report.
Village bachelors in northern India are demanding brides for votes in state polls next month because of a shortage of women after decades of illegal abortions of female fetuses, the Mail Today reported on Thursday.
Though it appears that some Indian politicians actually are willing to say no to voters.
Politicians have dismissed the demand, the report said.
Of course, it’s quite possible that the politicians are saying no in public and then somehow trying arrange brides behind the scenes.
Time to conclude with some excerpts from a story about our ruling class in Washington.
Thousands of clients using the affair-oriented Ashley Madison website listed email addresses registered to the White House, top federal agencies and military branches, a data dump by hackers revealed. The detailed data, released Tuesday, will likely put Washington, D.C., on edge. The nation’s capital reportedly has the highest rate of membership for the site of any city. Indeed, more than 15,000 of the email addresses used to register accounts were hosted on government and military servers.
The key words above are “highest rate of membership.” Yup, these are the people who think they should tell us how to live our lives. These are the clowns who think they can spend our money better than we can. These are the buffoons who want to direct and control the private economy.