Guest Post: The Corruption Of America

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Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:29 | 1998482 wisefool
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The only number that matters is 75,000+ pages of tax code. We are all apart of the soft corruption and there is no exit, as is being displayed in washington today.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:38 | 1998524 Hard1
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And turbo Timmay cheating on his taxes also matters.  He set the example of what every single US taxpayer should be doing to it's corrupt government.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:43 | 1998540 hedgeless_horseman
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The inflation tax isn't even in the tax code.

The third option is for the Federal Reserve to create credit to pay the bills Congress runs up. Nobody objects, and most Members hope that deficits don't really matter if the Fed accommodates Congress by creating more money. Besides, interest payments to the Fed are lower than they would be if funds were borrowed from the public, and payments can be delayed indefinitely merely by creating more credit out of thin air to buy U.S. treasuries. No need to soak the rich. A good deal, it seems, for everyone. But is it?

 

The “tax” is paid when prices rise as the result of a depreciating dollar. Savers and those living on fixed or low incomes are hardest hit as the cost of living rises. Low- and middle-incomes families suffer the most as they struggle to make ends meet while wealth is literally transferred from the middle class to the wealthy. Government officials stick to their claim that no significant inflation exists, even as certain necessary costs are skyrocketing and incomes are stagnating.

 

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul334.html

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:50 | 1998574 ratso
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Porter Stansbury is just anther pompous doomsday spouting moron.  He is just another voice in the right wing chorus screaming THE SKY IS FALLING AND OBAMA IS TO BLAME. 

Give me a break pleeease.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:52 | 1998580 redpill
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Well, the sky IS falling and Obama IS to blame.  But it's not a matter of being right wing.  Stansberry is just a huckster and this is the latest wagon he's trying to hitch to and merely regurgitating a bunch of crap he's read elsewhere stretched out into painfully long and vacuous sales pitches.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 16:05 | 1998628 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Well, the IS falling but Obama is not to blame. He is merely getting to be the man in the spotlight when it all goes down. Many more people carry direct blame than obama does. POTUS has been heavily rigged since Abe. Did you know Abe Lincoln's father was a Rothschield Frontman?

The tragedy of america's corruption is that is has been by design. By hollywood, By TV. By Pornography. By false dreams of manifest destiy, totally un-founded. By violence. And by too much meat. Mis and ill treated meat at that.

The purveyours of pornography rule. 

ori

/re-capitulation-collaboration/

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 16:33 | 1998750 DaveyJones
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like most collapsing empires, our leaders are getting progressively corrupt and progressively worse. It's math really

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 16:41 | 1998786 falak pema
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its entropy; but there is always a reset, thats the natural cycle, like champagne cork, has to rise. Hubris, everything to lose>humility, nothing to lose>reset. 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 17:36 | 1998984 IBelieveInMagic
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This essay is pure bullshit!

The reality is that we (USA) were able to establish a seemlingly unlimited credit card in the 70s that resulted in real stuff being provided by ROW in exchange for our promises (paper and digital) based upon our then trade surplus status -- this hugely advantageous arrangement allowed people in power (financial sector, MIC, politicians) to predictably recklessly take advantage of their pole position while keeping the rest of the populace quiescent by doling out entitlements, make-work jobs (TSA is the latest example) and easy credit. Now the ridiculous levels of debt (and non-performing debt at that) from this arrangement has become transparent and we are no longer able to pretend that we have a productive economy (we exchanged our productive economy for the right to acquire energy (and other commodities) and other goods and services in exchange for our paper and digits which gave us an artificial high standard of living far above what was justified by our economy). This arrangement is secured in place by our mighty military. Net net it has been a great arrangement for the country but the distribution of the gains has been highly lopsided with folks in power snagging a large part of the loot.

The challenge is how to retain this advantageous trade arrangement but at the same time create meaningful jobs locally -- the assumption was that US would be able to stay ahead of other economies in creating high value jobs and industries and we would be able to offshore/outsource industries where the 3rd world is catching up but this has not panned out in volume. Now we are in a place where the ROW has caught on in many areas but we have not been able to create new industries into which our population could be eased into.

Blaming politicians and others in advantageous position is just blame game (if we are honest with ourselves, most people would easily be corrupted if put in similar circumstances -- that is human nature). While we like to believe democracy provides the framework for checks and balances, in reality it has not panned out -- requires very active participation of populace which cannot be sustained over long periods (demands unreasonable attention span of populace that it is incapable of). My two cents.

 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:10 | 1999107 Voodoo Economics
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Ibelieve: Great analysis! BTW to his simple anecdote of the autos - anyone alive in the 70's and early 80's remembers the CRAP that Detroit used to put out as a car and truck. Just because an car/truck lasts longer now, and that one doesn't neet to replace the POS every 2-3 years doesn't mean we are worse off, possibly the opposite.

Anyway, this article has more holes in it that than (you name the pun).

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:24 | 1999142 Arcturus
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Swiss Cheese? Peg Board?

 

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 00:01 | 2000005 nope-1004
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America has always been corrupt.  That's not the problem.

The problem is punishment for the white collar criminal has never been more absent.  Loopholes get them acquitted, fancy lawyers get them off, and judges are political pawns used to stage the court room drama much like Hollywood TV.  The legal system has become a circus act.  Without punishment, corruption simply is more visible.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 20:58 | 1999510 UP Forester
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I'd rather take a truck from the 70's or 80's over all the electronic crap they put out today.

They rode rougher and (nominally) used more gas, but at least you didn't have to pay someone $300 to scan, replace and reset all them fuckin' sensors, including the ones in the tires/wheels.

Christ, you can't even fill a leaky tire or change your sparkplugs anymore.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 21:58 | 1999694 lotsoffun
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up forester - it was all part of the experiement.  partially it was a positive attempt.  can we improve on it?  partially it was an attempt to increase sales just on coming up with something new.  in the end - we got to try it.  personally - i'd just as soon have a volkswagen beetle with roll down windows and no AC for personal driving, now that i get to try everything - and dodge or chevy van or pickup if i needed to move things (with roll down windows and no power seats).  and the mileage really wasn't that much better or worse.  can we get back to that?

 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 22:59 | 1999879 pakled
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Also less suceptible to EMP blast...

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 23:02 | 1999893 pakled
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gimme a classic Dodge Power wagon, and a lever.... and I can drive the lever anywhere it needs to get to.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 00:51 | 2000081 GMadScientist
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Because the tankers that bring the gas or diesel that your P.O.S runs on won't be affected by an EMP?

Fail.

 

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 01:11 | 2000100 UP Forester
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No, because corn + sugar + water, heat it up, add yeast, wait a week, heat it up = alcohol.

A lot easier to convert with a carb than TBI/EFI/SPI.

Or, conversely, squish a bunch of seeds for veggie oil, strain, and POOF!  Biodiesel.

 

What a concept.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 02:30 | 2000198 Katow-jo
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That's not because the cars are harder to work on...quite frankily I'd rather work on a new car then the spaghetti emissions controls they had in the 1970s and 80's.  The reason its gotten more expensive is because the shops realised they could fleece customers by jacking the shop rates.  As I understand it all shops used to charge closer to $50 an hour...nowadays though...

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 23:53 | 1999986 Vampyroteuthis ...
Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Voodoo, I am glad you picked up on it. The Detroit garbage would last maybe 100,000 miles including 2 or 3 overhauls in the mix. Modern cans can easily make 120,000 without any major work. Poor example.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 03:31 | 2000256 Troublehoff
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Gadaffi?

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:46 | 1999194 High Plains Drifter
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gaddafi came to the same conclusion but he was murdered........

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:52 | 1999219 r00t61
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I agree, I think this essay has it backwards. 

In essence, the author's hypothesis is "decline in cultural values = decline of American economic system."

But I would argue the converse: that the "decline in American economic system = decline in cultural values."

People don't just wake up one day and say, "You know what?  I think I'm too moral, I think I'm too kind, I think I'm too generous.  I should stop being those things.  I should become more selfish, I should start thinking of ways to (quietly) screw my neighbors over, I should find as many loopholes as I can in the business and tax codes because I can."

Rather, over the course of months and years, as the economy continues to sink, peoples' mindsets change.  They start to think, "Man, I'm making less money, my savings account is shrinking, I haven't had a vacation in years.  I see actors, politicians, lawyers, and financial shysters making money fast without lifting a finger on TV.  They must be doing something right.  It isn't 'corruption', it's working smarter.  As long as I get mine, that's all that matters.  Even if 'mine' comes from working from some corrupt multi-national corporate like GE, or part of the MIC like Northrop Grumman, or even directly from the taxpayer's teat, like federal, state, or local government.  They're all doing it, so why can't I?"

Like the famous line from "My Fair Lady":

Colonel Hugh Pickering: Have you NO morals, man?
Alfred P. Doolittle: Nah. Nah, can't afford 'em, guv'nor. Neither could you, if you was as poor as me.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 19:05 | 1999259 Voodoo Economics
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If your argument is correct, then the last 30 years should have seen society become the most morally just/high cultural valued system ever - Maybe it has been?

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 20:14 | 1999416 Killtruck
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I have poor friends (like, real poor, not American poor) that are exceptionally moral. I personally think the original version is more correct.

 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 21:08 | 1999542 wisefool
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Thats how you do it boys. Reminds me of hedgefund conference a couple of weeks ago sponsored by bloomberg. The order of battle was a stolid fed cheif with an old media jornalist followed by some statitiscians. Then they got a cameo from a hedge fund manager without his curtain: "The problem is that we need the less developed parts of the world, with solid balance sheets, to lever up."

I cant remember the dudes name but he was wearing douchebag eyeglases. Atleast krugman lets you look him in the eye.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 21:55 | 1999687 youLilQuantFuker
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It's those fucling aliens. They fly here, poke and prod us, take some stuff and never buy any credit products.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 19:12 | 1999279 A Lunatic
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Corruption is not the problem, it's the fact that we no longer hang the guilty.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 00:53 | 2000086 GMadScientist
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Then what was all that clapping for Perry at the debates about?

Oh, you don't hang the rich guilty.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 01:12 | 2000102 UP Forester
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I love the sound of one hand clapping....

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 19:17 | 1999298 Grinder74
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I think it's more accurately described as a circle--one feeds on the other. 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 20:02 | 1999389 malek
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No, the author has it exactly right. One day you will also come to the same conclusion.
But moral/cultural values, especially the really applied, not just the claimed ones, are very hard to measure, so their decay is only seen much later.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 21:59 | 1999701 lotsoffun
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you are either young, or were a sociopath from the beginning.

 

 

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 02:41 | 2000208 Katow-jo
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r00t61 has it exactly right, you're deceiving yourself if you think the original authors premise is valid.  Occam's razor, people!

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 19:30 | 1999321 johnu78
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The whole country is going to sh*t, and the government and the people who control it are to blame.

Thank god for the Occupy Movement!!!

 

-John
http://www.youtube.com/carmarketer

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 23:01 | 1999890 Sabibaby
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It is about the blame game and if we can blame corrupt politicians and rich Wall Streeter’s great and more power to us! They know what’s headed their way and they’re preparing for bullets to the face. So enough with the psch101 BS lets go hunting!!!

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 17:14 | 1998910 AldousHuxley
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If you looks at history and old B&W movies, politicians were no better before.

 

It is just that people are more educated and information is more transparent thanks to technological advances.

 

They are discovering the lie that America is somehow innocent. In Russia everyone is aware of corruption. In America, people thought they were held in higher regard until the wave of economic boost goes away and the men behind the  curtain are exposed.

 

 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 17:31 | 1998964 DaveyJones
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you're right that we were never innocent, but as things get more desperate, human beings both take and justify more desperate damaging measures. Maybe I'm biased by a background in criminal law, but that's all I see going on here. History, psychology and other things that end in y play that theory as well. 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 17:49 | 1999034 AldousHuxley
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humans are animals with survival instincts after all.

 

fairness and equalities are luxuries

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 17:57 | 1999065 DaveyJones
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nice

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 21:54 | 1999685 Taint Boil
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Nature (instincts) is interesting - lions don't eat hyenas, they just like to kill them.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 00:55 | 2000088 GMadScientist
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Hyenas threaten their cubs. Grow a brain.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 05:24 | 2000336 Lord Koos
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The attempt to attain fairness and equality = modern civilization. It will never be completely attained, of course, but do you think that isn't a worthy goal?  We are animals but we are can also be more than animals.

Thu, 12/22/2011 - 02:56 | 2003596 AldousHuxley
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

 

morality, lack of prejudice, equality, fairness are human needs at the very top of the hierarchy of needs.

Food, sleep, water come before more noble pursuits.

During economic depressions, everyone's focuses one level lower where as during booms everyone aspires a higher calling.

 

Most people have the capacity to attain the top level, but society is not optimal enough yet to develop them. Elites do not trust the society enough to share the power, so in turn force non-elites fight dirty over petty stuff to get some leftover power and benefits.

 

economics and capitalism sort of solved the bottom most material needs which is what the "American Dream" is all about because there is a price to each things and you can figure out how to produce them optimally with efficient capital allocation.

But there is no definitive price on other stuff like family time, respect, morality, creativity, etc. so most often times people will over hoard materials goods while lacking these and wonder why they are not happy.

 

In the long run, humans have progressed. It just sucks when majority are idiots and hold some early enlightened folks like ZH readers down.

 

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 17:36 | 1998985 buyingsterling
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right. So there's only one _partial_ solution: Limit the central government to only constitutional functions. They're harder to corrupt, and this will move the corruption down the power scale, where it's often easier to identify and deal with. No hope for that except through collapse or perhaps Ron Paul.

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 18:59 | 1999240 r00t61
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Unfortunately, that's not really a solution at all.  Because who determines whether the government is stepping beyond the limits prescribed in the Constitution?  Oh, that's right, the government.  Why would the government willingly limit its own power? 

The Founding Fathers thought that their checks and balances system would prevent/limit this power creep, but clearly, this has not worked out in practice. 

Lincoln "destroyed the Union in order to save it." 

FDR's Supreme Court basically interpreted the Commerce Clause to mean "the Federal Government can do pretty much whatever the damn hell it wants." 

Our current court says that "Corporations are people." 

Our current Congress and Executive says that American citizens can be detained, indefinitely, without charge, if they're "enemy combatants."  The list goes on and on.

The government is its own arbiter of limitation, which means that it is no arbiter at all.  It's a classic case of "Who watches the watchers?"

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 19:55 | 1999369 wisefool
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+1 This ^.

The interstate commerce clause was intended to avoid highway and river bandits. Even with the absurd interpretations over the years it was not enough, so they used the tax code to faustian implement their dispensations for lives not well lived.

As far as who watches the watchers, you could add up every scripture & tort from the major religions of the world. They would be dwarfed by our "secular" tax code that was created to catch Al Capone ....... snarc: Merry Christmas to the LLM's tax of the world! Sent from my "Pelosi inside" Ipad. /snarc

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 22:04 | 1999716 youLilQuantFuker
youLilQuantFuker's picture

Imagine if you will that The Bernank pulls it off and his policies actually produce some sort of anemic growth for the next 3 years. Then we go through 6 more boom-bust cycles lasting 23 years. Then it finally all collapses.

What are you going to do in the meantime?

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 22:44 | 1999847 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

Tend my gardens.

Love my wife and family.

Care for the less fortunate in my community.

Live as happily as I can each day until I die.

 

How about you?

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