It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.
– Jimmy Carter, 39th President of these United States
You know it’s really, really bad when a former U.S. President feels the need to come out and publicly admit the above. While it’s completely accurate and needs to be said, it’s a truly sad moment, and provides further evidence of the Banana Republic America has become.
Of course, Mr. Carter’s comments come on the heels of former Senator Gary Hart’s blistering critique published in back June, which I covered in the post: Former Senator Opines on the Incredible Corruption in America and the Fourth Branch of Government. Here’s an excerpt:
On a more personal level, how can public service be promoted as an ideal to young people when this sewer corrupts our Republic? At this point in early twenty-first-century America, the greatest service our nation’s young people could provide is to lead an army of outraged young Americans armed with brooms on a crusade to sweep out the rascals and rid our capital of the money changers, rent seekers, revolving door dancers, and special interest deal makers and power brokers and send them back home to make an honest living, that is, if they still remember how to do so.
Our ancestors did not depart Europe and elsewhere to seek freedom and self-government alone. They came to these shores to escape social and political systems that were corrosive and corrupt. Two and a quarter centuries later, we are returning to those European practices. We are in danger of becoming a different kind of nation, one our founders would not recognize and would deplore.
In addition to the rise of the national security state, and the concentration of wealth and power in America, no development in modern times sets us apart more from the nation originally bequeathed to us than the rise of the special interest state. There is a Gresham’s law related to the republican ideal. Bad politics drives out good politics. Legalized corruption drives men and women of stature, honor, and dignity out of the halls of government. Self-respecting individuals cannot long tolerate a system of election and reelection so dependent on cultivating the favor of those known to expect access in return. Such a system is corrosive to the soul.
Now listen to Mr. Carter in his own words. You can hear the man’s obvious devastation and depression in his voice. (https://youtu.be/hDsPWmioSHg)
In case that wasn’t enough for you. I recently came across data from Syracuse University’s TRAC system (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse), which showed that “Federal White Collar Crime Prosecutions At 20-Year Low.” Why am I not surprised.
We learn that…
Federal prosecution of individuals identified by the government as white collar criminals is at its lowest level in the last twenty years, according to the latest data from the Justice Department.
The available records show an overall decline that began during the Clinton Administration, with a steady downward trend — except for a three-year jump early in the Obama years — continuing into the current fiscal year.
During the first nine months of FY 2015, the government brought 5,173 white collar crime prosecutions. If the monthly number of these kinds of cases continues at the same pace until the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, the total will be only 6,897 such matters — down by more than one third (36.8%) from levels seen two decades ago — despite the rise in population and economic activity in the nation during this period.
The decline in federal white collar crime prosecutions does not necessarily indicate there has been a decline in white collar crime. Rather, it may reflect shifting enforcement policies by each of the administrations and the various agencies, the changing availabilities of essential staff and congressionally mandated alterations in the laws.
“The decline in federal white collar crime prosecutions does not necessarily indicate there has been a decline in white collar crime.”
That’s for sure.
“It may reflect shifting enforcement policies by each of the administrations and the various agencies.”
Yes, it reflects captured and corrupt agencies and administrations, which intentionally perpetuate a crony parasitic economy that thrives on backroom deals and fraud.