Today’s quote of the day:
What has become of the American nation? Conceived with the vision of liberty and justice for all, we have descended in the clutches of corporate and other special interests to a second world state defined by K Street instead of Independence Square. Our government doesn’t work anymore, or perhaps more accurately, when it does, it works for special interests and not the American people. … What amazes me most of all is that politicians can be bought so cheaply
— “Let’s Get Fiscal“, Bill Gross (portfolio manager for PIMCO), January 2010
Take a typical member of Congress. Consider his or her non-government income (legal and illegal) per year in office — junkets, cash, jobs for the kids and nephews, commissions and fees to the spouse, etc. Add in the costs of the campaigns to obtain and keep that office. Now compare that to the bounty bestowed on his or her sponsors — especially intervention with regulators and favorable votes. What cost to benefit ratio do the sponsors earn? One hundred to one? A thousand to one?
Has there been any academic research on this vital question: are representatives in Washington providing cost-effective services to their owners? Does the invisible hand still work in Washington?
Whatever the ratio, I’ll bet that buying a Congressman provides the highest return on investment available today in America. No wonder capital investment and R&D lag our peers, when bribery pays off so well. They make Jesus look like a piker.
- “Rents Signal Rise of D.C., Fall of N.Y.“, Wall Street Journal, 8 January 2010 — Why invest in the real economy, when the political economy offers higher returns with less risk?
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