Friday, December 9, 2011

Donkey Cons & Democratic Politicians

My friend Stacy McCain co-wrote a book a few years ago called Donkey Cons, about the culture of corruption in the Democratic Party.  The book does not claim that only Democrats are corrupt, but that the disproportionate Democratic involvement in bribery, extortion, and other corrupt practices by elected officials reflects a corrupt culture in the Democratic Party going all the way back to Aaron Burr.  In recent days, we have seen former Illinois Governor Blagojevich sentenced to fourteen years in prison, and former U.S. Senator Corzine claim that he has "no idea" where $1.2 billion of investor's money at MF Global went.

The December 8, 2011 Wall Street Journal has an article about an ongoing federal grand jury investigation into former Governor Richardson of New Mexico:
A federal grand jury in Albuquerque has been looking into “pay to play” complaints from former and current state officials, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. The officials contend in court filings and interviews that Richardson’s close allies steered more than $2 billion of public money into investment funds run by money managers who in turn agreed to pay millions of dollars in consulting fees to high-profile Democratic fund-raisers and other supporters of Richardson.
Do you ever find yourself wondering about the pathology of this greed?  I can understand someone who is struggling to make ends meet being tempted to embezzle money from an employer.  From what I have read, many of these embezzlements start out as desperate "unauthorized loans," and when the employee finds out that no one noticed, they do it again, and again...and then they stop paying it back.  It is like the hungry man who steals food; it is not right, but we can understand the motivation, and say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

What I do not understand is why someone is rich--rich enough that they do not need to work at all, because they have hundreds of thousands a year in interest income, engages in corruption that may be noticed, and for which the punishment will be severe.  There is something deeply pathological about being so rich that you can already live lifestyles of the rich and famous and yet risking prison to make millions more.

3 comments:

Eric said...

It's at least partly because it is not solely about having a boatload of money, it is about having power -- and others having power over them.

Remember, the "Chicago Way" is sort of the epitome of the Democratic Party sleaze machine, and nobody got to be Mayor or Senator or President without owing a lot of favors to others. And because many of those favors were, to say the least, unethical if not outright illegal, it becomes difficult to walk away from them, at least if you want to keep your power and influence.

Robin said...

There is something that these people don't have:

More.

mariner said...

"What I do not understand is why someone is rich--rich enough that they do not need to work at all, because they have hundreds of thousands a year in interest income, engages in corruption that may be noticed, and for which the punishment will be severe."

That's where you're wrong, Clayton -- punishment is usually non-existent for Democrats, and *never* severe.