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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bob Barr Says Cheap Loans to Leading Senators Demonstrate Washington’s “Casual Corruption”

Countrywide Financial’s preferential loans to Senators Christopher Dodd and Kent Conrad represent “the cozy corruption that has come to dominate Washington,” notes Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. Sen. Dodd and Sen. Conrad chair the Finance and Budget Committees, respectively. “Amazingly, Sen. Dodd continues to develop a multi-billion bail-out for the mortgage lending industry of which Countrywide is a leading member,” observes Barr.

What makes the relationship between the industry and the Senators so disturbing is that it seems so natural. Apparently Senators Dodd and Conrad thought nothing of seeking preferential treatment—even while claiming that they didn’t believe they were receiving a preferential interest rate on the mortgages they received. “As government grows ever bigger, the opportunities for such abuse grow more frequent,” Barr explains.

Of course, it isn’t just a problem with the mortgage industry. Two decades ago Republican and Democratic legislators, including Senator McCain, had close ties to failing Savings & Loans in the midst of another financial crisis. “Throughout U.S. history businesses have sought favors from politicians, with the public almost always the loser,” notes Barr.

The best strategy to reduce influence peddling and political corruption is not so-called reform that simply changes the rules smart attorneys have to get around, but cutting the size, scope, and cost of government. “As long as more than $3 trillion worth of hard earned taxpayer money is available for the taking along the Potomac, individuals and groups will spend lavishly and work feverishly to get their share and then some,” says Barr. “Ultimately, the only way to end the petty corruption that fills Washington is to eliminate the profit from the political game by dramatically shrinking government.”

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