Thursday, February 12, 2009

U.S. to go the way of corruption?

I read this in the Rocky Mountain News several days ago. I was so disturbed, I couldn't even bring myself to post about it.

But after visiting so many other countries where corruption runs deep, I think we have to confront the reality. As I said to Sarita last night: what was wholly unimaginable even a year ago--that someone could casually suggest a $100 billion increase in federal expenses . . . why, that has become something of no account at all. A minor footnote on the trillions of dollars that Washington is now doling out with, it seems, "no thought for the morrow."
[S]o much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent. . . .
While we're on that point: May I express my total lack of trust in anyone at Geithner's level of income and authority who says he "made a mistake" in his taxes so that he failed to pay payroll taxes? He didn't "make a mistake" the way you or I might, where we misunderstood some provision of the law. Perhaps he "made a mistake" in the sense that, "Oh, shoot! I got caught! That was a dumb move on my part! What a mistake!"

But it gets worse.

Krauthammer continues:
The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. . . .

He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence. . . .

Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal’s private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he’d come to Washington to upend.

And yet more damaging to Obama’s image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package . . . [which is] not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It’s not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections . . . It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’ own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said. . . .
--Read the rest of the story for additional details.

It's sickening.


There was another article I saw sometime in the last day or two in which the author noted how, with all these billions and billions of dollars being handed out willy-nilly by the government, you can be sure the influence-peddlers, loaded with millions of dollars, are scurrying about the halls of congress seeking to release "a few billion here, a few billion there" to shower upon their favorite projects. After all, what's a 10 or 20 or even 100 million dollars compared to the billions that Washington can send your way?

You wonder why someone would pay Daschle $5 million for "nothing"?

It's not nothing.

And you and I--and our children--are the ones who will wind up paying for all this self-interested corruption.

Oh. By the way. How much is a trillion dollars, anyway? [From CNN on the 4th; 2:35]

And Christine can smile about this?
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