In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Sarah Palin writes about graft inside the beltway, and the recently released “Throw Them All Out” by Peter Schweizer. Her suggestion to increase transparency and add layers of bureaucracy to monitor and restrict financial moves by members of Congress might work at the state level, but in Washington it would be treating symptoms, not the disease itself.
Palin certainly is familiar with dealing with corruption and graft at the state level, but the federal government issues in Washington D.C. can not be solved my more rules. There are plenty of rules for congress-critters and more rules would result in more loopholes.
The real reason there is such a huge problem in Washington? There are – quite sincerely – unlimited opportunities for members of Congress and their staff to make a buck. Palin writes…
How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians’ stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers’? I answered the question in that speech: Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.
Well there you go governor, you answer the question right there. The problem is not just that they have access to our tax dollars, it’s that they have access to a tremendously huge stockpile of our tax dollars. We send them so much money each year to distribute “back to the people” they literally have to create new (duplicate) programs, build gigantic airports that have few if any passengers and yes, build bridges to nowhere.
Palin suggests a few reforms, and some of them will certainly help. But here is one example.
We need more detailed financial disclosure reports, and members should submit reports much more often than once a year. All stock transactions above $5,000 should be disclosed within five days.
OK. What about stock transactions of more than $5,000 for family and friends? Parents? Sons and daughters? How about first cousins once removed?
More rules. More rules with more loopholes. More symptoms of the disease.
The real solution is to take so much power away from the congress-critters in Washington as possible. You know, all that Article 1, Section 8 talk. Transport that power back to the states and the people – a.k.a. state legislatures. Does this mean we want government completely removed from our lives? Of course not, the states can more effectively do what the federal government fails to do today.
When you see the first congress-critters resign their position within the beltway with the goal to become a state legislator or governor, we’ll know we’re moving in the right direction and doing the right thing for our country.
[Read that last line again … if you like it, send this article to friends and share on the social network of your choice. Thanks!]