Authored by William Robert Barber
Be it civil or criminal, we all understand the meaning and consequence of breaking the law. When one speaks of corruption, normally the word applies to governments, organizations, or some closed loop entity. But not many of us have considered the meaning or consequences of “statutorily compliant corruption” (or SCC) wherein the perpetrator has not violated any civil or criminal statute… nevertheless, an injustice or circumvention of societal concurrence has been committed.
When congress submits its approved annual budget and then spends billions of taxpayers’ monies in off-balance sheet-in-addition-to budget appropriation, is this an overt corruptive act?
When federal immigration laws are selectively enforced, is this not a corruptive manipulation of existing law?
When a politician is elected because of the promise not to raise taxes and then touts legislation that does exactly that — is this betrayal NOT a pure example of SCC?
Barney Frank told us that Fannie and Freddie were financially sound and critical to the government’s obligation to insure a parity of fairness. Is it not true that Senator Frank and Dodd, with the aid and assist of the now President Obama, insisted on the veracity of obligation in the concept of government residential subsidy? Additionally, I recall that with purposefulness and premeditation these politicians, along with a majority of Democrats, sang the praises of Fannie and Freddie as they fought off the Bush administration’s efforts to wind down these entities. Clearly, Fannie and Freddie are not now – nor were these entities then – financially sound. It would have been prudent to de-leverage, impair, and rescind the authority and function of these quasi-government entities. Is the conduct of these three senators simply a matter of ignorance? Is it that they were simply too stupid to analyse the going ons? Or were these senators simply garnishing support within their base, not thinking all of the consequences? Did their actions fall within the definition of SCC?
Often enough false pretense is the actual ethos of the act of SCC. The motivations for extending these lies vary in degree and type. However, the disseminations of outright falsehoods seem to have the one motivational commonality: The perceived benefit of political or pecuniary gain. The process of implementing SCC includes a state government’s issuance of bonds without full and transparent disclosure, to the traditional tactics of government and corporate misinformation and disinformation. There seems to be no shame as to the lengths of such corruptive behavior and from time to time there isn’t even a discernable, rational, reasonable aim of the practice. Obviously, in these cases, logic and deductive reasoning are deleted by the lustful passion of ideological inspiration wherein malice is the intent and mischievousness the means.
All of us could, by simply reading the newspaper, easily find other instances of SCC practices within our governing and corporate systems. Our society has become very tolerant of malfeasant behavior; not just from our sports heroes, celebrities, or family members, but, most disconcerting, from our elected and appointed government officials. I am concerned with the ease pundits accept the less than stellar behavior of our elected representatives. Frankly, I am bit perplexed as to the reasoning and readiness of forgiveness for our elected officials ethical shortcoming. Maybe that is because there is no reasoning, but only the expectation of less.
The infection of “statutorily compliant corruption” has penetrated unevenly into the varied demographics of our society. Is it simply about the money? Does power have such sway that one is willing to lose one’s honor over the trivial of fame and cash? Why does one, a graduate of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and other such notable institutions believe that skimming close to the line of illegal is acceptable?
Possibly, one could draw a parallel between the numbers of law school graduates, the proliferation of legalized gaming, the number of divorces, fatherless families, the glorification of the flourishing illicit profession of selling cocaine, marijuana, and heroin, the number of teenage pregnancies, the outrageous number of abortions, the largeness of all governments, the permissive thus imprudent conduct of governing leadership in relation to government’s fiscal status, the commonplace of government deficit spending, and the immense expansion of federal/state socio-economic entitlements.
The evil that erodes the goodness from this great nation is a process of piece-by-piece deterioration of our moral ethos. When the cultural mores of the nation’s professional class determines that the object of winning trumps the means, as long as those means do not breach criminal or civil statutory requirements, America the exceptional will blend into America that once was.
The behavior of “statutorily compliant corruption” is much more dangerous to the veracity of this nation’s lawfulness than an overt criminal act. America is the shining light; we must maintain its brilliance by never compromising the nation’s spirit or moral ethos.