Montag, August 24, 2009

Why Isn't This Surprising?

There are different ways to hide corruption.

One is to actively hide it, making sure those in charge know where to hide illegal funds. The problem here is double entry bookkeeping, which means that you have to actively juggle the books - or maintain several sets of them - to hide the monies. This can also be used in assigning contracts, giving not necessarily to the lowest bidder or rather giving to the lowest bidder while secure in the knowledge that there would be massive cost overruns (the usual approach. This means, however, having increasing number of folks in on the story, with the possibility that one decides that his sworn duties to the taxpayers are more important than political graft (or, even worse, that they aren't getting enough graft and get real greedy, cutting corners and getting caught, bringing down the rest with them).

Another is to not fill the watchdog positions: that way, you don't have to hide as actively, since there is no one checking the books. Once a fiscal year is over and closed, there's got to be reason to open those books up again, and this can usually be ignored (unless there are massive problems).

Now I think this puts the above in context.

There is, for instance, no inspector general appointed to oversee the spending from the Department of Transportation, despite the fact that the DOT is spending more than ever before.

More than 500 positions remain unfilled: why the delay?

Incredibly enough, according to La Clinton, "The clearance and vetting process is a nightmare and it takes far longer than any of us want to see. It is frustrating beyond words."

But the best is this quote:

"Anyone who has gone through it or looked at this process will tell you that every administration it gets worse and it gets more cumbersome," Mrs. Clinton said last month. "And some very good people, you know, just didn't want to be vetted." She added: "You have to hire lawyers, you have to hire accountants. I mean, it is ridiculous."


I think the problem isn't so much that the vetting process is taking so long, but rather that those being vetted are turning up more problems than expected: after all, the Democrats haven't had the best of luck in vetting their people (Geithner and his .... creative approach to paying taxes...) because their people aren't as clean as the American public expects them to be. Of course they don't want to be vetted: however, it isn't ridiculous, just because La Clinton says it is so. It's not ridiculous because we keep on finding Democratic appointees that haven't bothered to pay taxes on their illegal employees, who can't be bothered documenting how that Irish cottage was paid for (Hi, Chris Dodd...), who are corrupt but believe in their hearts that they aren't.

Watch for legislation short-cutting the procedures "because it is needed". It's not needed to get their people vetted: it's needed because it's the only way to ensure that you can emplace either the corrupt or those who will enable corruption.

After all, it's the Chicago way. Staff the bureaucracy with corrupt folks and when everyone does it, no one dares call it ...

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