Roosevelt: “To Dissolve the Unholy Alliance Between Corrupt Business and Corrupt Politics is the First Task”

George Washington's picture


Why Is Corruption So Widespread?

Liberals love Franklin Delano Roosevelt ... and conservatives hate him.

But both liberals and conservatives are inspired by the wise, non-partisan words of the supreme ass-kicker Teddy Roosevelt:

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

Roosevelt is exactly right: the root problem is not big business (which liberals blame) or big government (which conservatives blame).    It is the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politicians which is the core problem (read this for details).

Sure, Teddy busted up the private cartels.  But - as his quote shows - we have to bust up the public corruption as well, or nothing will change.

Remember, the government made the big banks into giants in the first place:

As MIT economics professor and former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson points out today, the official White House position is that:

(1) The government created the mega-giants, and they are not the product of free market competition




(3) Giant banks are good for the economy

(Even after the financial crisis hit, the government encouraged the biggest banks to grow even bigger).

It is the Federal Reserve, Treasury and Congress who have:

This is not a partisan issue. Both liberals and conservatives agree that we must end the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big government and big corporations.

What History Teaches Us

Any conservatives who have any doubt about how corrupt Wall Street has become ... please skim this and read these quotes:

"If the people only understood the rank injustice of our Money and Banking system, there would be a revolution before morning."
- Andrew Jackson

"A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various powerful interests, combined in one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in banks."
- John C. Calhoun, Vice President of the United States

"There is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by…corporations. The power of all corporations ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses."
- James Madison

Any liberals who have any doubt about how corrupt government officials have become ... kindly glance at this and read the following quotes:

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the Field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
- Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, 1913

"There exists a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."
- Senator Daniel K. Inouye, 1987

"The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes."
- Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, 1952

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Pejorative Requiem's picture

Teddy Roosevelt was a land grabbing imperialist dog. He stood for big centralized government, and killed Mexicans by the drove.

akak's picture

I believe "droves" is the proper collective name for dead Mexicans.

Otherwise, I will agree with you --- Teddy "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick" Roosevelt was an elitist statist who differed only in degree, not in kind, from his even more pernicious second cousin by the same name who followed him into office two decades later.

Pejorative Requiem's picture

Not to split hairs good sir, but "in droves" or "by the drove". Either way, dead.

akak's picture

I stand corrected, in droves.

Questan1913's picture

All the Presidents that the school books positively gush about;  Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR, Johnson, Bush, the lesser (to be extolled in the future), et al, were the biggest borrowers, (benefitting the financial interests), biggest war mongers and murderers (once again benefitting the swindle class of financiers)  and biggest centralizers of power/promulgators of tyranny  (again) benefitting, well ....guess who?  

 For over a century we have had in America the best laws and government that BIG MONEY could buy, all the while pledging allegiance to the flag, getting teary eyed when the national anthem played, dutifully paying "our taxes", participating in and furthering the big swindle..... of ourselves!.  

How our masters must love  our pliancy, our submissiveness, our passivity, our ignorance, our distraction, and our wonderful acceptance of every new debasement of ethics, and above all our tolerance of non-stop lying as long as it is presented in a dignified manner, on television.  (as it is in every "state of the union" address, which is extremely dignified)

In reading what I have just written it occurs to my that I have violated several unspoken but  very real culturally mandated proscriptions against speaking plainly, and have used inflammatory words that are not generally used in the context I use them, such as murderer, lying, swindle, etc.  And  many reading this comment will be greatly discomfitted by the tone or the substance of what I have said or even the length of run on sentences and positively strange words like debasement, not to mention promulgate, etc.  Yes.

boiltherich's picture

After reading the above comments I have had to draw the conclusion that politicians, though some are more deeply flawed than others, are in fact human and we are never going to be happy with them.  The choice is always going to be between a rock and a hard place finding the right leaders.  Not too get to partisan in the coming election (I voted for Raygun in 80 and McCain in 08 so though I am mostly left due to social issues I hardly can be counted upon to tow the party line) I believe in my mind and heart that while Obama is a deeply flawed man who I do not particularly like to vote for Romney would be an act of electoral vandalism.  He is possibly the least ethical man to run for office since Nixon, in a time when the largest problem in the nation is the corrupting power of the 1% the GOP is serving up the poster child of all that is wrong with America today.  I am absolutely baffled that anybody other than the top 10% in household wealth could look at that man and come up with ANY reason to vote for him other than an outright racist vote against the current president.  This is not to be confused with a stamp of approval FOR Obama, but just an observation of the lay of the land.

Questan1913's picture


"In politics the scum always rise to the top".   In this election we are presented with scum "A" and scum "B".

It is baffling that you could actually believe that there is any difference, whatsoever, in who these two men are or who they will serve once in office. won't be the interests of you, any one you have ever known or even met or come in contact with.

This is an election in which a vote for either candidate is a treasonous act;  a suicidal urge to go over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings avowing "I'm not going to throw my vote away!"  Good Luck.

RockyRacoon's picture

I'm 63 years old and have voted every time I've been able.  I've been a registered Democrat (early years) and Republican (later years), and am currently shown as Independent on my voter card.  I'll say that Romney is right up there in the upper echelon of socially subdued psychopaths.   There's not one political wind sock that he won't flow with.  If I were to want the system to head toward total collapse, so that it can be replaced with something else, anything else, then I just might be forced to vote for him.  That would be the contrarian vote but I'd have to go outside and puke in the polling place parking lot after doing so.

Ray Bones's picture

I almost never agree with your wacky bullshit, Georgie. I do this time though. Makes me wonder if I'm losing it a little bit.

Questan1913's picture

Stop reading, go back to the TV set, and all wil be well again.....

shovelhead's picture

Look at the bright side...

Crooked businesses and corrupted pols working together in a symbiotic relationship is highly efficient form of robbery that accomplishes theft better than either could produce on it's own.

So we do have something in Govt. that works well after all.

optimator's picture

If Woody thought it was a power then, even before WWI, I wonder what he would say about it now.  Same power, same folks.  Remember, if you can't talk about someone, they own you. 

'They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
- Woodrow (he kept us out of war) Wilson  , The New Freedom, 1913

I wonder how history might have been changed if that power didn't have the infidelity goods on Professor Woody.  Or is it the Professor's woody?

nmewn's picture

Central planning & eugenics was the de rigueur of their times...they have never let it go.

"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." -Woodrow Wilson
mofreedom's picture

Right on man!  My people wete routinely schefuled for forced abortions in the North.  The South was paradisio especially with an Irashman with his wit and whiskey.  Ros was a killer and should not be given a grain of applause for the desth he created via depebdance on a a welfate state.  Amem!

nmewn's picture

As I said...eugenics and central planning is very much a part of keeping everyone down...but them.

And they still believe in it today, its an academic mindset.

Witness the state (and their proxies) telling you what you should say, think, print, eat & drink. Where you should live and how you get there.  

Its gone so far people now beg for them to come between you & your own

Be a good little slave, conform to your masters wishes, do as your told, they know whats best ;-)

JeffB's picture

Thanks, GW. A good commentary on a critical issue, supported by quality links and quotes. You're a real asset to the readers of Zero Hedge.


proLiberty's picture

FDR's line is about as truthful as when, on a Monday Obama says that Jerusalem is the capital is Israel and on Tuesday he says that he didn't mean exactly what he said, that in fact he meant the opposite.

The reason I would hold that opinion is because when FDR pushed legislation, approved of government regulations, or directed officials about which cases to take to court, we got cases like Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States 295 U.S. 495 (1935), where Jewish butchers were thrown in jail for the crime of allowing a customer to choose which chicken they wanted to buy, and Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), where a farmer was fined for growing grain to feed to his own pigs.

Both cases are about as contrray to liberty and as supportive of big and Bigger government as any socialist would want.


granolageek's picture

Your point would make more sense if GW hadn't been quoting _Teddy_ Roosevelt.

Joebloinvestor's picture

Neither party had the guts to blackmail the other about shutting down the farce we call our government.

I don't see either party doing anything to clean up their own respective acts either.

This includes the agencies that are supposed to regulate this shit.

Zero Govt's picture

you have no vote on 99% of the business carried out by Govt, you can't even vote against war as there's a 2 Party lock-out

we have the exact same 3 Party lock-out in Blighty

this is not "democracy" by any stretch of the imagination, this is a blatant in-your-face lock-out and shut-down of democracy (whatever the fuck that's supposed to be!)

there is only 1 true democracy, freedom (of the individual)

all collectivisation of people is an abject and total failure. The world can only work on an individual decision-making basis, not amalgams of peoples views

Tippoo Sultan's picture

Roosevelt was a proud, unrepentant socialist.

gregga777's picture

I think that you are confusing Franklin Delano Roosevelt with Teddy Roosevellt.  GW's post quoted Teddy Roosevelt not Franklin Roosevelt.  There is a big difference between those two Roosevelts.

George Washington's picture

Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican.  You are confused, sir ...

Tippoo Sultan's picture

That isn't in question, GW, as your piece goes on to discuss TR. My observation refers to FDR, with reference to whom, you open your article. I will agree, however, that the "Progressives" were proto-socialists, and have found a home in what is known today as the Democrat party.

A bit quick on the draw, sir. Perhaps you ought consider a flap holster.

surf0766's picture

He was a progressive first . AKA socialist

nmewn's picture

Socialism comes in many flavors.

There is also national socialism.

Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Theodore Roosevelt had, at the very least, a mild "Progressive" streak. A true populist, Roosevelt was a nominal Republican.

nmewn's picture

Constitutional amendment for an income tax, direct election of senators and an inheritance tax are what always jumped out at me.

So far, two out of those three.

Populism is all fine & good until it cooks the goose that lays the golden eggs. Not to belabor the point, but we have arrived at the point where 200k is considered "rich" by "progressive" statists.

Its not.

This is direct democracy in action...good luck to all with it, I'll have no part of it.

granolageek's picture

But the governor of Wisconsin says a teacher making 62k, with multiple dgrees and years of experinece is overpaid.

LowProfile's picture

If there was a free market for education most of those teachers you seem to hold in esteem would be un-fucking-employed.

nmewn's picture

I'll take it you were educated there. ;-)

So tell me, when does the taxpayer get an advocate in salary negotiations? A fairer model would be a taxpayers representative...(I would humbly submit myself in this effort) go into the room with government officials and teachers unions.

Is it a deal? 


I'll take the silence as a no.

Which, oddly enough, would be my starting position in negotiations until the curriculum & grades came up to match the salary and benefits.

Zero Govt's picture

"It is the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politicianswhich is the core problem."

Bad problem solving GW, you're rearranging deckchairs again old bean

The mega-problem with Govt is it is a monopoly (of authority/power) in society.. the exact opposite/enemy of freedom.

All monopoly enterprises (cause) display the exact same outcomes (effects): ignorance/stupidity, lathergy/sloth, unproductive, vacuous/pointless authority, complete detachment from end-users.

The effects of Govt are the same the world over, no culture changes the cause/effect of a monopoly. The entirely predictible negative outcome (suicide mission) of Govt is only a "surprise" to those who swallow the bullcrap idealistic window dressing of what Govt is (not) about

The secondary problem (still pretty mega) is it is the erection/fabrication of a false God in society based on the tragic idea we need/can find 1 answer to every issue, and we need to be led/nannied/governed. We're all adults, we don't need anybody, if we do we can find it ourselves so please dump the expensive corrupt bureaucracy

I could go on, but either of the above blows a mega hole right through your argument for furthering the most failed, corrupt, ignorant, destructive, backward, murderous institution ever fabricated by men/liberal-idiots/parasites

Give it up GW, your ideas (barberous relics) have never worked even once in history and are centuries past their sell-by-date. Enuf old bean

CH1's picture

the most failed, corrupt, ignorant, destructive, backward, murderous institution ever fabricated by men

Well, said, ZG. Well said indeed.

Once you get your head clear and take an honest look at it... it's bizarrely insane. What the hell were we thinking?

Zero Govt's picture

What the hell were we thinking? Nobody that supports Govt or Law does any thinking, they just dribble parrot-fashion the mantra they've been indocrinated with

Statists are exactly like Marxists and Socialists, they hum an age-old song of propaganda never once looking at either experience/history or current reality. Zombies with their religion

2,500 years of epic Govt corruption, destruction and failure and GW is still keen to re-arrange the deckchairs ..."it'll work if we just do this..."


nmewn's picture

"Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the Field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
- Woodrow Wilson

Well, Woodrow Wilson would know, he was one of them.

LowProfile's picture

Spot on GW, and although TR expanded the empire and IMO was essentially a "benevolent statist", he was spot on regarding the unholy alliance.

At this moment though, I fear that too many people still feel they somehow personally benefit from the corruption in the system in order for it to go easily and quietly.

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."

- Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

Manthong's picture

Y'all might want to look a little deeper into what Teddy actually did rather than what he said.

LowProfile's picture

Thanks, I knew he had to be somewhat dirty, good to get a better idea of the extent.  My admiration is based more for him as a man than a statesman.

All of them have serious flaws.  Jackson is my favorite, and it's hard to excuse what he did to the native Americans.  Learn from their fails.