Sunday, April 1, 2012

I, for one, welcome our Federal Overlords

I've come to the conclusion that Illinois has the least corrupt government in the US. "But Squiggie!", I hear you pretend to say, "That's so corrupt the governor was put in Jail last month!", to which my answer is "Exactly".

Blagojevich sits in jail because he demanded a reward for picking Obama's choice of Senator, it's not clear what kind of reward, it might have been spending money, or it might have been a campaign contribution. But it was wrong, and Rod's now being punished for the crime.

By comparison, my state's governor passed rules that force government employees to get drug tests upon being hired, something that is entirely unnecessary (and a cause of needless anxiety to the victims) but happens to benefit companies that do drug tests - like, well, the governor's. Clearly corrupt, and nobody's even considering jailing the bastard.

Corruption and abuse of power seems to appear in different forms at different levels of government. My experience is:

  • HOAs are little more than person fiefdoms for cliques who use rules to inflict misery on those who cross them. People who attempt to vote out those cliques rarely end up any the better, and most residents are too intimidated to involve themselves in the "democracy" to change things.
  • City and county governments have a mix of good and bad people, depending upon the luck of the draw. The politicians themselves aren't usually too bad in terms of how corrupt they are, but they usually have a myopic vision of the consequences of their actions, leading to frequent overreaches in terms of rule making and power. Police and other emergency services are usually fine at a high level, but as you get to the lower ranks, there's a certain amount of looking out for each other than comes at the expense of those served. [FWIW, one of the reasons I like the NCIS television show is that it somewhat subversively shows the corruption in action through the extremely ironic character of Gibbs]
  • State governments tend to be somewhat larger versions of  city and county governments with many of the same problems. A bigger issue is that the politicians seem to be more ideological and more inclined to try to impose their ideology on others.
And then we get to the Federal level. Right now we have:
  • A rather power obsessed executive that frequently abuses its power
  • An ideological Supreme Court, though one reluctant to abuse its power in most instances
  • A bizarre Congress that's mostly corrupt, but has great difficulty exercising power

So, who should have power?

I have to admit, I'd rather see power go upward. It's not that the Federal Government is less corrupt than, say, my HOA. It's more that Federal Laws are more difficult to enforce than local laws. The more unrealistic a Federal politician is, the less likely it is their attempts to exert power will be effective.

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