Many people are starting to notice that, no matter how much politicians overspend the people’s money and how corrupt they are, it seems to be just about impossible to vote them out and get a new bunch that is meaningfully different. Why? A big part of the answer is the use of public moneys in the corrupt processes of government expansion and entrenchment.
There is little systematic reporting on these processes in the media. But here in New York, a series of corruption cases has exposed a widely-used M.O. that seems to represent the current state of the art. The latest case has revealed corruption at a whole new level and brought it to the doorstep of the kingpin of New York State politics, Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver.
Here’s the basic New York M.O.: Start a non-profit organization ostensibly dedicated to alleviating “poverty” among your constituents. The public is bamboozled by fake federal statistics into thinking there are lots of people in physical-deprivation poverty, and generally supports public spending to alleviate the poverty. The State Legislature and City Council spend public money, purportedly to alleviate poverty, by handing out large grants to dozens of non-profits in the scam “anti-poverty” biz, many of them closely associated with various state legislators and city councilpeople. So you get your non-profit on the list. Not one of these non-profits has ever actually removed a single person from “poverty” as measured by the federal statistics, because the services they provide are all in-kind and therefore don’t count toward the official federal poverty measure. But these non-profits are political gold. At the minimum you have lots of employees who can be your campaign workers when that season rolls around, but that’s only the beginning. Next, you can put on the payroll your wife, girlfriend, and/or lots of relatives, not to mention yourself — remember, state legislature and city council are part-time jobs. Best of all, you can divert a good piece of your state or city funding back into political contributions to your campaign to ensure that no competition against you can ever get traction. And finally, you have no concern that your non-profit might actually cure the “poverty” and put itself out of business because none of its efforts count in the fraudulent official measure of “poverty.” Get a bigger appropriation next year! You are fixed for life!
An observer from another planet would ask, Why does such a bizarre system go on, seemingly without end? Why does the rich New York keep supporting the poor New York, and why does the poor New York not improve its lot? Why are these the Americans who won’t do the jobs that Americans won’t do?
The answer is that the real division in the city is between the wealth creators who pay the taxes and those who live off them, a class that includes not just the welfare poor but the vast army of city employees whose jobs exist supposedly to ameliorate their condition but who actively perpetuate it—the Housing Authority administrators, the public school teachers purveying a curriculum of social justice and an ideology of victimization, the domestic-violence counselors trying to fix unfixable families, the welfare workers on whose watch some poor child is horribly killed every year, the Public Advocate who apparently is supposed to promote some public concern that the City Council has failed to grasp, the civil rights commission on the lookout for racial abuses that the state and federal civil rights commissions have somehow missed, the tax-funded social-service agencies that wouldn’t exist were there no social pathology to address—in short, the Bill de Blasios of the world, constantly spewing out their myth of two cities that justifies their existence, feeds their self-righteousness, and keeps the votes and money pouring in.
The intergenerational poor are not a problem to be solved but a resource to be exploited—at least as long as the shrinking numbers of taxpayers, from rich Wall Streeters to ink-stained journalists, whose jobs technology is changing and inexorably shrinking, are still here to pay the bills.