The United States of Corruption

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John McCain declared yesterday that both Washington and Wall Street were corrupt. By Washington, I can only assume that he means the U.S. government comprised of both the Congress for which he has been a member for more than 20 years and the Bush administration. By Wall Street, I assume that he means the back bone of our financial system and the international emblem and symbol of America’s economy.

I am not saying that this statement isn’t true. It may very well be. But it seems kind of strange coming from the mouth of the country’s greatest patriot and hero. First, I can’t recall a U.S. presidential candidate or statesmen ever so boldly criticizing his country. In the U.S., we call Venezuela corrupt and we call Nigeria corrupt, but we would never look in the mirror and bravely accuse Amurika (as McCain pronounces it) as being equally rotten. If John McCain really believes what he said, then kudos to him for finally speaking out.

And that’s precisely my next point, finally! McCain has been in Washington for how long? Is he one of the Washington corrupt? If not, who is corrupt in Washington? The Bush Administration for the past eight years? The Republican Congress for six of the last eight years? Or did this corruption just start in the past two years? Maybe they are all corrupt, each and every one of them except for John McCain. He has spoken out against pork and earmarks, but surely those are more wasteful than corrupting. Surely, pork and earmarks did not lead to today’s financial crisis. How has McCain’s 90% pro-Bush voting record or insistence on deregulation of the financial markets thwarted corruption? If McCain hasn’t been able to put a dent in corruption between 1982 and 2008 in Washington, how is he going to change things now?

From a purely pragmatic standpoint, how responsible is it to call the U.S. government and banking and financial systems corrupt? What effect does it have on the market, on value of the dollar and U.S. debt, and on global confidence in the American economy and businesses? Or the future of Wall Street (and the U.S. for that matter) as the financial center of the world? If you thought factory jobs were heading south, wait until there is white collar flight to less risky markets like London.

One last question: were John McCain president of a foreign nation, would he negotiate with the corrupt United States without conditions?

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

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