It shouldn’t take much elementary logic to know which direction American government should trend towards in order to better society. There are some propositions that we grow up hearing, knowing they are true, but then somehow fail to employ in reference to politics.
Money is power. Power corrupts. If these two logical propositions are true, then the conclusion is: Money corrupts. This is a hypothetical syllogism which is a logical construction where the following string is used to get to a conclusion: If A then B, If B then C, therefore if A then C. If there is money, there will be power. If there is power, there will be corruption. Therefore if there is money, there will be corruption.
Let’s continue to figure out politics using knowledge we grew up with.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If these two logical propositions are true, then we know that more power means more corruption. Since we have already determined that money is power, we can also be sure that more money means more corruption. Okay let’s check our conclusion; does the U.S. collect the most taxes and spend the most money it ever has as a government? Yep. Is there the most corruption in government currently that there ever has been? Well we could argue semantics, but I am thinking that’s a big YES. (The following links will bring you to an article about at least one scandal in each of these federal departments, within the last few years: IRS, NSA, DHS, ATF, ATF (again), DOJ, DOJ (Wall Street), DOJ (freedom of press), State Department, State Department (hookers), EPA, FDA, USDA, Census Bureau, DOD, TSA, DOE, and the sad thing, I am sure I missed some).
The big takeaway is that we should be severely limiting the amount of money the federal government has to work with. Now obviously all the propositions would need to be true in order for this logic to stand, and often things are not so black and white. I bring this up more as a way to remind people to hope for the best, but expect the worst. While it is possible for good things to be done with tax dollars, we should not assume that good things will be done with our tax dollars. It is understandable to hope that poverty would be solved if enough public spending was thrown at it, but it is not understandable to expect that good things will come from spending public dollars to solve poverty. With the corrupting power of money, it should follow that everywhere money goes there will be some degree of corruption; the bigger the honey pot, the more insects it attracts. So how do you control that corruption? You make sure the people with skin in the game are the ones monitoring and limiting the corruption.
Accountability can go a long way towards curbing corruption, yet we give government a blank check and let them run with it. If they lose all the money they are ever given, they do not necessarily lose anything personally (assuming they “lost” the money to the right voters). If a CEO loses the money he is given by investors, he also loses his multi-million dollar a year position, his high rise apartment, his corner office, his social standing, and maybe even his wife. Who is going to make sure that money produces the desired results, the bureaucrat or the businessman? There is money to be made legitimately in the private sector through good performance, where-as a bureaucrat or politician is more limited in their legitimate means to acquire vast sums of money. There is not as much room for corruption in the private sector, because there are real consequences to the corruption in terms of losing customers, investors, lawsuits, money, future opportunities and (depending on the degree of corruption) freedom.
Politicians and bureaucrats are largely shielded from these direct consequences of their corrupt actions. We can just look and see that ATF directors were not fired for Fast ad Furious, we wouldn’t even know who to hold accountable at the NSA, Hillary Clinton was not held accountable for Benghazi, Eric Holder has not been held accountable for DOJ phone tapping, colluding with Media Matters, or failing to prosecute financial criminals, Lois Lerner retired (as opposed to being fired and arrested) from the IRS, no USDA, FDA, Census Bureau, DOD or DOE directors or employees have been fired or punished for their roles in scandals which lost billions and billions of dollars, and in some cases ruined lives. By contrast, Bernie Madoff is in jail, ENRON went bankrupt and most of the management went to jail, and News Corp is under investigation while many high up employees face trial.
Only when you introduce the public sector into the equation do you begin to have a group of people who have influence over vast sums of money, without the consequences that make it necessary to spend that money appropriately. This is mostly when you see corruption in the private sector, when there is “no strings attached” money to be had from the government. Sure there are some strings, like the politician who takes the money from the private sector for his campaign has to pass the legislation which subsidizes (or regulates competitors’ of) the private industry that paid for his campaign. But the strings are back-room deals, instead of responsibility to share-holders, employees, and customers.
So the bottom line is that removing government from the economic equation means less corruption. Only through the monopoly on force, and the monopoly on the money supply can our government allow corruption to continue. Allow business to be regulated by the interested consumer instead of the disinterested government, and we will see results in curbing corruption. Allow entities other than government to investigate and bring to justice real criminals, and eliminating corruption will be a more effective means of making money than corruption itself. Just realize that the more money we allow our government to confiscate, the more corrupt the government will become.