Government-sponsored corruption

It’s frustrating and infuriating to read books revealing corruptions by the Washington political class, and published soon after the deceptions —to find out we’ve been scammed, again, with another concocted “crisis” or whatever political ploy generated by the anointed ones.

It’s frustrating because we could have been informed by some old-fashioned investigative journalism. Instead, most media reporting today simply parrot the ignorance, distortions and lies put out by many of our elected officials, their bureaucrats and lobbying enablers operating in the District of Corruption.

It’s infuriating to learn how incompetent, unwitting and self-serving these people can be—people we should be able to trust to uphold our constitutional government and do what’s right for all American citizens in every State. But, alas, we, like Charley Brown trusting Lucy to hold the football for his kick, get duped every time. Arrghh! Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice same on me.

I’ve been reading two books that illustrate how we were deceived in the “fiscal cliff” and other crises manufactured by Washington cliff-hangers: “On the Brink” by former George Bush Secretary of Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr. published in 2010, and “The Great Deformation” by former budget director of the Reagan administration, David A. Stockman, published in 2013.

Mr. Paulson’s 450-page memoir, largely self-promotional, gives his personalized insider account of “the race to stop the collapse of the global financial system.” Stockman’s 700 plus-page tome subtitled, “The Corruption of Capitalism in America” offers a dramatically opposing view to Paulson’s story.

Paulson’s tale recounts the hour-by-hour intrigue he, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (later Barack Obama’s Treasury secretary), “worked as a team through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Paulson was arrogantly proud of their “trust in one another” during a crisis they largely created and promoted to deceive President Bush, the Congress and the American public. Paulson may have believed in what he was doing, but he was ignorant and delusional.

Of course, the rebuttal to criticism would be, “But it could have been worse had we not acted.” Please. That could be said of most any bad economic condition—but it never can be proved. So the political class gets away with their deceit.

Stockman catalogues political ineptitudes and double-dealing over the past two federal administrations—a pox on all of them. He disdains Bush’s Paulson for “apparent illiteracy on the precepts of sound fiscal policy.” Stockman writes: “ The bailouts, the Fed’s frenzied money printing, the embrace of primitive Keynesian tax stimulus…resulting in Washington’s embrace of any expedient necessary to keep the financial bubble going”…was offensive “to every historic principle of free markets, sound money, and fiscal rectitude.”

And it continued: “Obama’s $800 billion grab bag of consumer tax-cut handouts, business loop holes, money dumps to state and local governments, highway pork barrels, green energy giveaways, and hundreds more was passed in twenty-one days with no deliberation and after an epic feeding frenzy among the K Street lobbies.” And when AIG, “the gold standard of finance” needed $180 billion—“right now, this very day…Bernanke just hit the ‘send’ key on his digital money machine.”

All this, including the abomination of the “Affordable Care Act” has pushed us all over the dreaded “fiscal cliff.” Americans will rue this day when they allowed the federal political class to wrest control of the economy and corrupt the government originally set up by and for the People.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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