Don Boudreaux illustrates the costs of rent-seeking using the Blago affair as his "teachable moment."
The antidotes for this poison are integrity and constitutionally limited government. The need for them has never been greater.
Federal officials are dealing with orders of magnitude more money, so a deal that is 10% corrupt will cost society more than a deal that is 90% corrupt on a local level. I think the accountabilities for local vs. federal officials are different and not easily comparable.
Under our system, any shrinkage of the federal government will result in a concomitant expansion of 50 state governments.
Empirical evidence in either direction would be welcome.
How many state governments expanded to fill that power vacuum by going dry?
George Bernard Shaw once was at a cocktail party, where a very loud and pretentious lady (probably after a few drinks) was becoming obnoxious and dominating the conversation. Shaw asked said to her, "Let me ask you a question. If I were to give you a million pounds, would you sleep with me?" The woman stopped and thought for a moment, then said, "Well, I suppose I might." Shaw continued, "Would you sleep with me for a half a million pounds?" She laughed and said, "Oh, Mr. Shaw, you are naughty! For a half a million pounds, I suppose so." "Well," Shaw retorted, "How about for fifty pounds?" "Mr. Shaw!" said the lady, suddenly taken aback, "What do you think I am?" "Madam," said Shaw, "we've already established that. Now, we're just haggling over the price
Simple soluion: require all contributions to be completely anonymous(sp?), paid into an escrow account, and paid out quarterly to the intended recipient. Hard to have a quid when you don't know who is responsible for the pro quo.
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