Fix Government Corruption – Give the Power Back to the People

Our political leaders keep telling us that the worst is over, financial conditions are improving and we are at the end of the recession.   And yet, their actions speak much louder than their words. 

The financial reform bill that the House of Representatives past last December  authorizes the Federal Reserve to shell out up to $4 trillion in emergency funding to big banks the next time the walls come crashing down. This action flies directly in the face of the assurances we keep hearing that the bailout spree is over. Obviously this isn’t the case, as Congress is laying the groundwork for the continuation of their unfettered spending spree

image This horrendous bill is the brainchild of none other than Barney Frank, the ultra-liberal chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.  Believe it or not, this is the same Barney Frank who has been calling for tougher regulations of Wall Street and its practices.  And yet at the same time, this man is prepared to give the bankers unprecedented amounts of money. How can this be?

As we have seen time and time again (on both sides of the isle), if we want to understand why a politician takes the positions he does, all you have to do is follow the money.  Representative Frank is no exception.  Kevin Connor offers up my supporting data in a recent article.

Many people think that all we need to do in order to thwart this corruption is to pass some reform bill that would regulate how campaign donations are given and received.  I would argue that this is just a futile hope.  The past has seen many bills of this kind, but politicians have always found ways to bypass them.  After all, such bills are written and legislated by the very people whose conduct we seek to regulate. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the failed logic here.  So, we can be pretty certain that any measures they propose will be weak and full of the loopholes they love.

Well, we could just vote the bums out.  That would fix it.  This too has been tried before, and always with the same result: Most of those who replace the bums eventually turn into bums themselves.  The 1994 election is a prime example.  That election saw the Gingrich Republicans ride a wave of disgust with congressional slight of hand and the Republicans took over Congress.  But not even a decade later, one could hardly tell the difference between the new boss and the old one.

The problem lies not in the fact that all our politicians are inherently corrupt before they leave for a career in Washington.  Surely not many travel to Washington hoping to end up as whores of special interests.  Human nature is such that only a few can resist for very long the perverse incentives of the corrupt system.

So how do we fix this problem?  I don’t want to be one of those people who just complain and capitulate to the fact that “that’s just the way it is”.  This is not how our country was founded, in fact, it was designed to protect us against this.  What went wrong?

I believe the problem lies in our voluntary relinquishment of our liberties.   We have granted Washington the ability to regulate almost every aspect of our lives.  This act in turn has invited two kinds of bribery, which in Washington-speak is called "campaign contributions."  The first kind of bribe is those given by groups and individuals who seek to escape onerous regulations that Congress is constantly threatening to impose.  Bribes of the second kind are made by those who wish to get their grubby hands on other people's wealth.  The latest financial reform bill is a blaring example of both kinds.  Bribed to the hilt, Frank concocted a bill that essentially gives Wall Street a free pass while authorizing immense amounts of money for the next emergency.

It is clear to me (as it was to our Founding Fathers) that the only way to get rid of this corruption is to deprive Congress of its vast regulatory powers.  There is truly no reason why politicians should administer any portion of the private sphere.  Finance, health care, energy, housing, and all the rest should be left wholly to the market.  The market will always delivers goods and services in the most economical and cost-efficient manner (that’s the way it’s designed).   Every time our elected officials decide to regulate, they only make matters worse.

It is not coincidental that those areas that are the most heavily regulated.  They are typically the most problem-ridden, have lots of money and thus provide the biggest “cash-cow”.   Their ability to control and regulate these sectors is the main source of their clout and cash.

To sum it up, if we want our lives back, we must strip politicians of that power.  We never should have given it to them in the first place.  America is now paying the price for losing sight of this country's founding principles and granting politicians extra-constitutional authorities under the foolish belief that they would solve all our problems.  That was obviously an unwise thing for us to do, because instead of the goodies they promised, they have delivered waste, fraud, abuse, theft, and corruption.


MARC CHAMOT on February 8, 2010 at 1:09 PM said...

Paul: Great post, I think public political financing period.

It should include on IRS forms, like max contributions amounts like $100 and pick party of choice. Then percentages are shared between federa, state and local, according to contributions.

It will eliminate all of the big money and corruption that goes into politics.

That is what's killing American politics now...

Dorothy on February 9, 2010 at 1:48 PM said...

This is a great post, however power and greed prevail and our politicians forgetting what bipartisan means once they are elected. Instead preventing the party in office from accomplishing anything in order to make them look bad therefore, nothing gets done. And it's crazy to think its a good thing to be a long term representative of our country..term limits and caps on dollars spent in future campaigns is our only chance and I doubt we'll ever see that change as there is too much at stake for these rodents..however, we mustn't give us someday perhaps our younger generation will get it right.

Dorothy from grammology

Anonymous said...

Oh yes!! Power to the People!! Vote in November & maybe we can save America from the 47% that don't even pay taxes

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