The Politics of Selfishness and Corruption

The capitol in Washington
Who cares who is elected Speaker of the House? Nothing will change.

I don’t really care who is Speaker of the House, as I don’t believe it will make much difference in a Congress that has a small Republican majority in the house and a small Democrat majority in the senate. Regardless of what happens, I expect we’ll be in for two years of bills that get sent from one chamber to the other, where they die on the vine.

I think the problems the Republicans are experiencing in electing a house leader are emblematic of the problems we face today. Too many decisions driven by greed and selfishness. The idea of compromise and doing what I best for the country–and failing that, doing what is best for the party–has gone by the wayside.

When you think about it, our two political parties have splint into four: the extreme left, the moderate Democrats, the mainstream Republicans, and what is called the conservative block of the Republican Party. I don’t think any of them, with the possible exception of the extreme left, have a plan to move their agenda forward. For example, can you name three major pieces of legislation the Republicans want to move ahead with?

1995, the Good Old Days

When Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the House, the Republicans had swept into power thanks to the “Contract with American,” which Gingrich co-wrote with Dick Armey, a congressman from Texas. The Contract with America spelled out what the Republicans wanted to accomplish, including eight major reforms.

Gee, how nice to know not only who you were voting for, but what they stood for and what they pledged to accomplish. Where’s Newt Gingrich when you need him? Maybe they should vote for him to be Speaker of the House. After all, there is no requirement that the speaker be a congressman.

The Problem is Selfishness

The United States would be a much happier place if people were content to live with the rules the Founders gave us, but too many people want to tilt those rules in their favor. They want to give themselves, their company, their industry, their minority group, their special interest, or their wallet an advantage over everyone else. When you come right down to it, politics is all about changing the rules to benefit Group A, often without noticing that such a change is at the expense of Group B and to the detriment of the rest of us.

Keep in mind that when someone’s taxes go down, someone else’s go up. When someone gets a better deal, someone else gets a worse deal. When we incentivize green power, fossil fuels suffer and we end up shivering in the dark. If Congress passes regulations that cost companies money, those costs get passed on to the consumer as higher prices. TANSTAAFL–there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Ever since the first government, I believe some scoundrel was out there lobbying for special privileges. Back when there was a king, this was easy. If you were buddies with the king, you got a title, lands and special privileges. Take away the king, and you have to make friends with congressmen and senators. The best way to make “friends” with a few hundred people is to pay them for their friendship. The best way to pay them is to donate to their re-election campaign, to their PAC, or to hire their old law firm. A not-so-good way to pay them is to slip them an envelope full of cash, transfer funds to an off-shore bank, or put their son on the Board and pay him $89,000 a month. I expect all of these methods are still in use.

Selfishness Leads to Corruption

The result is corruption. And the people who are supposed to stop corruption, like the FBI? We are learning they may be corrupt, too. There have been plenty of examples in the past ten years in which they aren’t playing by the rules.

Even if we look beyond the lining of pockets, we have people in power that have corrupted the Founders’ Intent. We have governors who sign gun control bills just weeks after the Supreme Court rules them unconstitutional. There are state legislators who look to circumnavigate federal laws rather than uphold them. Some municipalities selectively ignore Federal requests because they disagree with immigration laws. We have Executive Branch agencies that want to usurp the authority of Congress and write laws rather than enforcing those Congress passed.

At the highest levels, we have people who vote month in and month out to spend money we don’t have. And it happens on both sides of the aisle.

One day, those chickens are going to come home to roost. The people will get pissed. The economy will collapse. Gun owners will revolt. Farmers will protest, possibly by no longer producing food. The rich will withhold their taxes or go offshore. Then the “powers that be” will have to hope we the people don’t call for a new deck of cards and start a new game, because when you feel like someone is cheating, that’s usually the first step.

If and when this re-shuffling takes, expect some disruption. That’s when your preps will come in handy.