Governor Rod Blagojevich was indicted by the federal government this week because he was caught on wiretaps saying he wants to get something of value for appointing Barack Obama's successor to the U.S. Senate. What a ****** surprise! A politician wants to use his official power to "trade" something of value- in this case appointing an individual to the U.S. Senate-for a personal benefit, lots and lots of moolah. If this standard would be applied throughout the United States, there would be a lot of indictments.
According to one former congressional staffer and observer of America's political scene, there are members of Congress who have secret offshore accounts. When I was told this I was incredulous. We know there are scoundrels in Congress who have been caught taking bribes and/or soliciting bribes, but secret offshore accounts, I asked? He insisted. yes, members of Congress stay in office for decades, because the monetary benefits are enormous.
We know a congressional salary is not bad, over a $150K per year plus all the other perks, including a generous pension plan. But apparently the real bonanza in Congress is the off the books gelt that enriches the political class in DC, because the longer they stay in office and chair powerful committees and subcommittees, the greater the impact they have on legislation that affects big business, labor unions and other special interests.
It all makes sense. Governing has become "big business." With the federal government spending more than $3 trillion a year, there is a lot of dough flowing through the halls of Congress. Just a little bit that can be diverted to a special interest is worth millions if not billions of dollars. Think military-industrial complex, for one. And we now politicians like the "good life." Did you see the movie, Charlie Wilson's War? Of course, there are the "righteous" ones in Congress who think the United States Government is doing God's work overseas-battling evil and building democracies. There are always the naïve in government who can do the bidding of the greedy.
Limiting the power of government is the only way to end the spectacle of the Blagojevichs of the world from exercising their power to enrich themselves or some special interest group. But liberals and good government types in both parties believe that there can be such a thing as good, big government. Wrong. Big government is inherently corrupt.
As H. L. Mencken observed decades ago:
The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting 'A' to satisfy 'B'. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.
We have had a presidential election won by a self professed agent of change; however, Barack Obama is really a smarter version of Rod Blagojevich without the cursing. Obama is not asking for money for appointments to his cabinet but he did promise his former rival and now secretary of state designee Hillary Clinton help retiring her campaign debt. Was this the "price" Obama paid for Hillary's support? A legal quid pro quo. But, in the final analysis, Obama will continue the "pillage" of the American people in the name of change. Maybe the American people really want big, big government. Well, Obama is going to deliver as much big government as he can as the next FDR.
In the nation's capital, Governor Corzine was testifying (begging) the Congress along with other governors for more federal aid to balance their books and send money to their respective states to prime the pump because of the Bush-Greenspan-Bernanke-Paulson depression. Governor Corzine, being an unapologetic advocate of really big government, is calling for a massive stimulus plan. He wants federal dollars for roads, sewers, Medicaid, special education, etc. In other words, Corzine has his shopping list and wants Uncle Sam to cough up the dough, which of course it doesn't have. Every additional dollar of federal appropriations has to be borrowed or created out-of-thin air by the Federal Reserve to pay for any additional federal government spending, because the federal government has at least a one trillion dollar budget deficit this year.
In other words, the welfare-warfare state is bankrupt. The political elites of both political parties have spent, borrowed and inflated us to the financial abyss. This is the legacy of both big government liberalism and big government conservatism. The remedy of course is limited government at home and nonintervention abroad. Instead, the do-gooders cannot conceive of anything but a welfare state at home to help people when the best way to assist the unfortunate among us is to support the outstanding local charities in New Jersey and around the country. We should begin to phase out the expensive social welfare government bureaucracies immediately.
As far as bloated military budget and the unnecessary interventions overseas are concerned, Obama should heed the insightful words of Warren Buffet's father, former congressman Howard Buffett who remarked after World War II:
Even if it were desirable, America is not strong enough to police the world by military force. If that attempt is made, the blessings of liberty will be replaced by coercion and tyranny at home. Our Christian ideals cannot be exported to other lands by dollars and guns.
The president-elect must do the right thing overseas: get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP and not got us bogged down in another quagmire in the Middle East.