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Sorry to post so many links, but some are too good to pass up:

Lack of competition has lulled Democrats into a complacency that borders on corruption. In recent years, two of the signature achievements of the New York City Council have been orchestrating a massive fraud against taxpayers by allocating money to phony nonprofits and parking the money in a slush fund for later use, and voting to extend the term limits of its own members. Some of these members rarely show up for work, while others take public funds for essentially uncontested general elections. Both actions could be considered stealing from taxpayers. Is it a coincidence that the Council is composed of three Republicans and 48 Democrats? Without effective checks on the power of the majority, the Council acts in its own best interests—not those of the people.

It’s a good piece. But my response for a problem of oligarchy and the fact that very few Americans vote for their leaders (read the piece) is not to hope for more competition from the Republicans – in the political arena, competition is not constructive it is in the economic arena. No, my reading of this situation is that we ought to reduce the power of the political process. If no one cares, and we have all of these perverse effects from single-party rule trampling the constitution, what else could the writing on the wall be saying?

Here is the end of the piece:

Most of all, lust for power has diminished the integrity of both parties. In a just world, cynical opportunists like the state senators who led the summer’s coup should find themselves without political homes, not the subject of a bidding war. (Democrats gave Sen. Monserrate, then under indictment, a committee chairmanship and attendant stipend. The chaos in the Senate ended when final holdout Sen. Espada returned to the Democratic fold—as Democratic majority leader).

Democracy does not work without real competition, and contested elections between candidates with material differences provide voters with meaningful choices. New York doesn’t need less partisanship. It needs more.

I would have ended the last paragraph with just the first 4 words he used. And one reason is what he says above – the incentive structure in the political sphere is fundamantally messed up. And to top it off, few of us really care about politics. It makes for interesting news and blogs, but when it comes down to it, what portion of your life are you interested in dedicating to politics? Even the most ardent statists among us much prefer time with friends, time on the trail, seeking interesting career options, and so forth. My reading is, again, to reduce the impact of government instead of trying to figure out a way to make a broken wheel roll better.

One Response to “Banana Republic Update”

  1. Angry Canadian says:

    I was watching Bill Maher the other day (it was an old episode), and Michael Moore was the guest speaker. He was selling his new movie, “Capatalism: A Love Story.” From what he said, it seems this movie is about how capatalism is the root of all evil, and must be replaced with democracy…..didn’t make much sense but the crowd seemed to eat it up.
    But it got me thinking, U of R should pay Michael Moore to come to rochester and debate against Rizzo! Students from all over the political spectrum would come see Michael Moore sound like an idiot when forced to debate someone who knows what their talking about!…

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