How Politicians Get Rich from Public Service
The term Public Service has a noble ring to it that speaks to a kind of civic charity that only the most noble citizens among us can indulge. The idea behind public service is to allow distinguished members of a community to give back by offering their time and expertise for the betterment of whatever polity they're in. As everyone, their mother, their mother's mother, and their Uncle Pete knows, however, politics is big business; now so more than ever before. Everyone knows this, but not everyone knows how this is done.
People who say that politics is not a popularity contest probably have a vitamin D deficiency from all the time they've spent living under a rock. Politics is all about branding and popularity. The more popular a politician is, the more power they have among their peers and the more sway they have with the public. Because politicians rely on voters to pull the lever for them every election, the methods they use to make money have to be disguised out in the open at best and clandestine or illicit at their worst.
From the Senate Building in Washington DC to the council chambers of a sleepy New England village, the bread and butter of political profiteering is The Favor. Trading favors, in a string, allows for politicians to compromise publically and profit privately. It's also the method used to reach higher power. The more power someone has, the more money they are able to make by offering access to that power in exchange for something. Here is a common example: If a politician is privy to the decision making process within government to build a new road, they are able to communicate with a developer (Their brother's company? Their friend's?) to tell them what the current bids are from other developers so they can undercut them and win the contract every time. To get even more money from this process, things can get even more insidious. This is illegal. It's unethical. But, it's extremely common at the city and state level.
In a city that will remain anonymous within a state that will remain unnamed, a former mayor's company was able to talk with his former colleagues at city hall about keeping him up-to-date with the bid offers coming in from companies around the state. Working with his people on the inside, he helped craft the bids coming in from other developers by artificially inflating the amount of materials and prerequisites. When those inflated figures changed, the mayor’s proposal was already done up to the actual specifications and his bid beat out everyone else’s. The city officials gave the contract to their former mayor who was able to make more money with his bid because the other developers’ bids were too high based on the false information they were given. He was also given preference by promising to hire minority contractors to do some of the work. He used the clout he gained as a politician to rob local businesses of a lucrative contract, he interfered in the process for personal gain at the expense of hundreds of workers and their families, and to top it all off he never hired a minority contractor to do work on his site and never had to prove it to anyone because the people in charge of oversight are already in his pocket. This is as despicable as it is common. One of the developers wronged in this situation is in the process of informing the FBI and are going over their options. There will be an update to this article if it goes public. Until then, the source and the case will remain confidential.
On the national level, less work seems to get done than ever, but public servants at this level almost always become millionaires. Lobbyists and corporate agents have direct access to politicians in Washington. They have access to American officials. A politician can find themselves make $500,000 per year after serving a couple terms in congress by acting in the interest of a company that secretly sponsors them. If a corporation has their arm on the shoulder of a politician, figuratively and literally speaking, they can trade a cushy position at their company for several years of loyal service from that politician. Government contracts can be diverted towards that company at the expense of the taxpayer and other companies acting in a slightly more ethical fashion. Like running water searching for the lowest point to settle, multinational corporations will act according to what they are allowed to get away with. When a politician has their hand out, they are the party most at fault because they are directly responsible to their boss, the American electorate.
By putting up the cash to get their pet politicians elected time after time, they are actually making an investment with a massive return. A few hundred thousand dollars over the course of 4-6 years can have a return of hundreds of millions as these politicians favor these corporations with lucrative contracts. This is largely why legislation from Democrats and Republicans fails to make people’s lives better. The US congress is almost entirely bought out and the government serves as a piggy bank for the elites and the corporate class. Taxes are levied from hardworking Americans so that they can be divided up by congress and shared between the elites they serve. This has characterized the latter half of the 20th century and the war to end this kind of corruption will likely characterize the 21st. The current presidential race is a battle between absolute corruption and total popular representation. We will either overcome this rot or it will compromise the structure and the whole of the West will be brought down with us.
If you have enough influence as a public servant, you can even find yourself being paid cash directly into your bank account for promising a return on investment to a group or corporation. Being bribed directly is illegal. However, if you are exchanging a service of some kind you can get away with this in public. The method used in order to “legally” bribe politicians in the United States is to offer a gargantuan speaking fee. The politician will babble for 20 minute in front of a disinterested crowd of people and then they are given their check.
Hillary Clinton commanded a speaking fee of $250,000 for some time while her husband, Bill, received $500,000 while she was in charge of the State Department. By putting a quarter or half a million dollars into the pockets of the Clintons, corporations and foreign dictatorships were able to essentially pay them in exchange for preferential treatment or policies that many times negatively affect the US and its people. This is the reason the establishment has lined up behind Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. They know that if she wins, for the next 4 years at least, they can pay her to do what they want. Wall Street, the oil industry, the arms industry, big business, and foreign despots all support Clinton because they are assured the ability to direct US policy to benefit them at the expense of Americans. The reason the establishment is diametrically opposed to a Trump presidency is because they know that they will not be able to pay him to act against the interests of the American people. They know that the next four years will be a total waste of time for them because they won’t be able to bribe him to act in their favor or do whatever they want. He has what comedian and podcast extraordinaire Joe Rogan refers to as, “Fuck You Money”. He is the public defender the American people need at a time like today. A tireless advocate, no matter how crass the aristocrats of polite society think he is, or no matter what they say about him not following the rules they set up to lord over the paupers.
Career politicians are named as such because they have chosen to work as public servants in order to gain wealth. They are essentially expensive charity cases because they aren’t actually creating value or wealth. They are vacuuming it up. After a few decades in service, career politicians often have their methods down and are so comfortable with their own corruption that they become sloppy. The bible of the enemies of corruption, WikiLeaks.com, has helped to shed light on the world of politicians and political insiders. What we see, in their own words, is how they are absolutely consumed with the way polling is going. They are consumed with the way things look and how to obfuscate truth with falsehood. What you do not see a lot of is a willingness to work to make the lives of Americans better. They are comfortable talking about policy but only as it pertains to perception in an election. They aren't destroying this country and its institutions because they are malevolent. They are destroying this country because they simply just don't care.
This pathological apathy to the state of this country and the Western world is bringing us to ruin; slowly at first but then all at once in the end. There is zero willingness to act as tireless advocates of the United States. This kind of corruption, where public servants are only tangentially worried about running the country they’re in charge of because of their preoccupation with enriching themselves, is what destroys empires and turns civilizations to ruin. Awareness of these misdeeds by a vigilant public is necessary when trying to cure this plague.