Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hammers and Nails

This week the corruption trial of Senator Ted Stevens continues. He's accused of writing laws in such a way as to profit himself and his family personally, but his trial revolves around $250,000 dollars worth of home remodeling he may or may not have paid for in full. Such fine gentlemen as former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Senator Orrin Hatch are supporting Stevens in his defense.

While it seems obvious why some people refer to Stevens as the most corrupt politician in Washington, and I certainly don't support his funneling of public funds to friends and family, it does seem odd that he's being persecuted by the state for which he's worked so diligently, while Senator Dianne Feinstein is largely being given a pass for funneling over a billion dollars worth of defense and civil engineering contracts to companies her husband has financial interests in. Once again, we see that while any politician can personally profit from the hard work of innocent Americans, only the truly elite can get away with it.

In other news, not to be outdone McCain has introduced his own plan to “rescue” America from its current financial woes. While his plan does rely more on cutting taxes than government spending and is for this reason clearly the better plan, it still fails to realize that these should not be temporary emergency solutions. If ending taxation and removing regulation which discourages saving and spending are good for the economy in a down time, why aren't they good for the economy all the time? It would seem that the message is when the economy is doing well, we can afford for the government to leech off of its largess, but when it's down those parasites can kill it.

While the candidates argue over who will fix the problem better, the current administration is hard at work making things worse. Buying up stake in private banks, and removing the cap on the amount of money insured by the Federal Government in some private accounts will only burden the federal coffers, and by extension you and I, that much more. Ultimately, there simply won't be enough money to cover all of these promises, and much like social security in the near future, the government will have to renege on them.

So why make promises you know you can't keep? When individuals do it, we call it lying. We look down on liars and refuse to do business with them in the future. Yet when government does it, most people just consider it par for the course and keep going back to the well. And time after time, lie after lie, most people are content to place the blame for the failed promises on the other team.

In part, this may be because it's clear that government's don't respond well to dissent. Whether it's in Zimbabwe, or America, when confronted with a competitive, anti-state voice, governments respond the only way they know how, with force.

When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.


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