The Grand Grift Of Government

Most of us have seen one of those movies or television dramas where the bank robbers cover their escape by heaving handfuls cash into the air in order to create a handy distraction.  While the anxious bystanders scramble to snatch up the relatively paltry numbers of dollar bills fluttering through the air, the crooks jump into their waiting car with the bulk of their ill-gotten gains and race off to plan their next crime.  Pretty cool, right?

Welcome to America in 2021.

Think back just a few short weeks ago to the $1.9 trillion of Covid-19 relief that was supposed to help Americans continue to stagger through the wreckage of the lockdowns and shutdowns that protected us right into the poorhouse.  Roughly $17,000 of additional debt was added for each of us to fund this spending extravaganza—and we got a check for $1,400.  Does anyone see a problem with this?  The average American got the cash that floated down to the pavement; those in charge of the grift that we call our federal government ran away with the rest, and it is now being divvied up among all the various members of the gang that we have elected to rob us blind yet again.

Roughly a century ago the American journalist H.L. Mencken got to the core of the problem that is now so fatally afflicting America with an observation that is acid—but accurate—when he wrote the following:

“The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them.“

This pretty much sums up the current state of American democracy.  Cash is being distributed to favored constituencies by whatever party is in power.  This might be accomplished by creating tax breaks deemed necessary to reach a particular economic or social goal, offering grants of money that are designed to empower one group or industry over another, or imposing new laws and regulations that promote a particular vision of how Americans should work and behave.

By using all three of these cudgels either singly or in combination, government in all its various manifestations has moved far beyond its historical mandate of simply ensuring civic order and providing a capable national defense.

We are now captive to the fanatical visions of an army of social engineers who desire nothing less than complete control over every aspect of human expression and activity.  As a consequence, government and its many enablers must grow to whatever size is needed to monitor, manage, and manipulate our hopes, dreams, and desires toward this end, and to question the prevailing orthodoxy results in public rebuke, legal jeopardy, and loss of livelihood.  

It sometimes seems impossible to believe this has really happened, but stop and ponder just how many problems and controversies now result from the power of government and government influence regarding everything from what we eat, how our children learn in school, who is allowed to ignore laws they believe are unjust, when we are allowed to gather with our friends and families, and even where Major League Baseball plays its annual All-Star Game.

But this is only half the story, and to ignore the rest is to fail to realize the actual source of the many difficulties facing our nation today.

None of this absurdity would be possible were it not for the simple fact that there is money—very, very big money—to be made by moving onto Team Government’s Easy Street of cash extracted from our pockets in order to fund useless government programs and the very well-paying insider opportunities they create.  Follow the money and the actual intent of all this supposed assistance becomes blindingly clear.  It is a vast and self-reinforcing machine of grift and graft that is extorting money from Americans with all the subtlety of a Mafia shakedown.  

These supposed efforts to improve our daily lives are simply the public relations excuse for state-sanctioned larceny on a scale that is almost impossible to comprehend.  However, we fail to recognize the real enemy because we are set at one another’s throats by media meat puppets and social media arsonists who are concerned with their views and clicks rather that the daily consequences of their destructive and divisive words.

For example, President Biden’s new proposal to spend trillions of dollars on infrastructure improvements perhaps sounds great in the press releases, but the hidden details reveal that he also wants to create a new office within the Commerce Department to manage America’s supply chains, which would in effect cover everything from the acquisition of raw materials to the transportation, storage, and distribution of finished goods.  According to a statement released by The White House, this new office will be “dedicated to monitoring domestic industrial capacity and funding investments to support production of critical goods.”  Alarm bells should be ringing already if you are aware of how the insider game is actually played.

Take a moment to think through the reality of how this would operate.  One of the easiest ways for government insiders to make lots and lots of lovely money is to create artificial—and likely arbitrary—administrative bottlenecks and regulatory hurdles for private sector employers.  This in turn creates opportunities for elected officials to extract fat campaign contributions from businesses and business groups, for lobbyists to charge for assistance in cutting through the Gordian Knot of government oversight, and for government employees to collect paychecks in exchange for the “protection”—yes, there is a clear double meaning here—that they provide to desperate business owners.

Should some permutation of Joe Biden’s plan be eventually enacted, American businesses would be captive to some new and unresponsive federal bureaucracy that will need to sign off on the lumber needed to construct a new house or the steel and computer chips required to build a car—and that will be just the start.  Permission must be obtained to transport the product, and a fine will be imposed if the transport exceeds the allowable carbon footprint.  If the gender and racial composition of a company’s workforce does not meet the federally mandated targets of the month, it will need to wait before beginning production or construction, and a team of lawyers will be dispatched to demand compliance.  Moreover, failing to stay in the good graces of regional inspectors and auditors could easily cause a business to be driven into bankruptcy despite providing a good product or service to its customers.

If you were trying to run a business in Joe Biden’s new and supposedly improved America, just what would you be willing to pay—beyond what you already pay—to be able to operate in relative peace?  Senator Shakedown will certainly grant you some favor in exchange for a contribution to his re-election fund.  A very well-paid Washington lobbyist, who until just last year also worked for Senator Shakedown, will advocate on your behalf with this new office in the Commerce Department—and is ready to invoice you for greasing the wheels to ensure you get the permits and permissions you need.  And don’t forget that “contribution” to the group of activists who are going to demand a government investigation into your business practices if you don’t pay up.

Government has always had a sad track record of serving as a means for insiders to enrich themselves.  Few who serve in Washington come out poorer for the effort, and breathtaking increases in the personal fortunes of many elected officials are now so commonplace as to pass without much comment at all.  We are too exhausted by the obvious corruption to be outraged anymore, and we have learned all too well that the supposed watchdogs are in on the game as well.  When is the last time you saw anyone of real consequence marched off in handcuffs, and do we even still dare dream that these crooks will ever be held accountable for their crimes?

The explanation for the wholesale thievery we are forced to endure is sickeningly simple: The incredible growth of American government over the past 50 years or so has created new opportunities for insiders to accrue personal wealth through means that range from the merely parasitic to the blatantly self-serving.  The payoffs for the insiders are enormous, and continuing to peddle the Biggest Lie—that more and more government is a benefit to the average American—is a falsehood well worth perpetuating to those who are happily shopping for palatial homes in the wealthy suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C.  

Government is now, after you dig through the platitudinous speeches that claim otherwise, a big money racket for the well-connected, and 99% of the American public are merely the suckers being fleeced at the crooked roulette wheel of governmental influence peddling and corruption.

While you’re desperately trying to catch up your bills with the bit of money recently thrown your way by your apparently compassionate government, take a moment, go online, and research the net worths of a few present and former government officials.  If you take a moment to follow the money trail of power and greed, you might begin to better understand what is actually happening in the America that you used to know and love.

And maybe you will know what to do the next time some trickle of cash is tossed your way to purchase your sullen silence and obedience.  A little well-informed anger just might point you in the right direction and open your eyes.  Your fellow Americans are not the enemies.  Just follow the money and learn the truth.  Do it.