Is Being Corrupt the Only Way to Run Government?

As long as there are corrupt people there will be corruption in government.

Are corruption, cheating, and fraud the way to run government? As many years as I can remember, I have been an advocate for open government. We have so-called “sunshine laws” that are supposed to apply at all levels of government. The people who pay for the government with their tax money require knowing how decisions are made.

The taxpayer’s demand to know is increasing across the country. We could spend weeks talking about the charge of cover-up taking place regarding the terror attack in Libya this year on Sept. 11. Rather than talking about one incident from local, state or federal, I want to deal with the over-arching issue of honesty and openness in government.

It has been said that to have available as much money as is known to be granted for certain government contracts, there is always the issue of corruption and someone getting an inside opportunity to be able to win the contract or come away from the project with more money. This smacks of corruption. The reason polls indicate the lack of trust at all levels of government is the fact that as long as there is one person dealing from the bottom of the deck to advantage someone else, we will have mistrust. There are laws assuring the tax paying public that advantage is not being taken of them, yet when facts come to light, many times we find the opposite to be true. How can this be happening?

As long as there are people, there will be someone believing they can cut a deal and make the decision tilted their way allowing them to benefit by taking advantage of the situation. We hear of such things in the business world as “White Collar Crimes.” Local, state, and federal governments install crime prevention and investigative sections in order to assure the tax paying citizens all decisions made will be made openly and honestly. In some parts of the country we are told of the general practice or way of doing business is to bribe or commit fraud in order to receive the government issued contract. That should not be allowed. That way of doing business needs to come to an end. The greatest frustration in regard to this issue seems to rest with individuals who promise they will be open and honest only to be discovered sometime many years later to be the leader of the pack of dishonest lawmakers.

I have noticed that one of the biggest issues in government is access. By that, I mean just to be able to get to the person at the top or the person making decisions becomes a prize to be sought. Networking events are conducted with the stated purpose of getting to know the “right people,” in order to tilt the business in one direction or another. From where I stand, as long as access is open to some and not others there will be corruption in government.

Follow Ray Newman on Twitter @RayNewmanSr


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