Government corruption is not simply about politicians taking money, it's about the misuse and abuse of power, as recent scandals reported by the News & Observer show.
Members are appointed to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors because they've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republican Party, even though some are Democrats.
Directors of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, a taxpayer-funded nonprofit agency created by Democrats to help rural communities, award grants to organizations they're involved with. This practice continues under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
A report by the Democratic state auditor finds that the economic development center awarded $600 million in taxpayer-funds to businesses for job creation, without checking whether or not any jobs are created. The Republican governor and legislature takes no action.
These incidents are typical of the insidious corruption common in North Carolina government. Corruption is not simply about politicians taking money, it is about them expanding, manipulating, using, and perpetuating their power to dole out favors to their supporters.
To paraphrase Will Rogers, North Carolina has the best public officials money can buy. But that's not what government is supposed to be about. Government is not supposed to be about providing jobs, or giving money to anyone and everyone. It's not supposed to be about money at all, but about protecting rights.
We tolerate, marginalize or overlook corruption because our government is no longer a republic run by citizen-statesman but an autocracy ruled by an entrenched political class. Government is no longer about protecting individual liberty and promoting personal responsibility; it’s about “what’s in it for me,” and “how can I get mine.”
Government regulates every part of our economic, social and personal life. So it logically follows, if you really want to get something done, you must bend the rules – or the rule makers. There really is no waste in government. Politicians create programs for the specific purpose of helping their friends and political supporters and to make it easier to get re-elected.
The root cause of this corruption is not the abuse of power; it’s the power to abuse.
“It is far easier to reduce politicians' power than to raise their characters.” (James Bovard, Attention Deficit Democracy)
Libertarians believe the solution to corruption is not more rules and regulations, but less power in the hands of elected officials. It's pointless to talk about corruption in government. Every government program is corruption, because it’s organized on the basis of who has the most political influence.
Take away the ability to buy and sell influence and you resolve the problem. If elected officials have nothing to sell, special interests would have nothing to buy.