Sat, 19 Jul 2008

Corruption

"Corruption"? What does that mean, anyway? To my mind, it is people who have been tasked with a job, but they are not doing it. Instead, they are doing something which benefits them, rather than their employer. When this is discovered at a private company, the person gets fired. When a politician is corrupt, it's harder to do. Sometimes their corruption helps a powerful person, and they lend their power to keep the politician in office.

My feeling is that corruption in the face of power is inevitable. As Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." These days, the politicians in Washington have absolute power. The only check on their power is other political entities: the executive, the judiciary, or the legislative.

I want to fire these politicians ... permanently. I want Washington to go back to being the foggy bottom where nobody wants to live year-round. I want political power to devolve from the monopoly government in Washington, and return to the competing governments in Albany, Salem, Montpelier, Sacramento, Trenton, etc.

The problem is not the corruption. The problem is that the only control that people have over Washington is voting, and it's a very infrequent and uncertain control. At the state level, people can (and do -- New York State has the highest taxes and is losing population) vote with their feet.

Politicians will always be corrupt, as long as they have power without oversight (and voting doesn't provide enough oversight -- the option of exit does).

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