Maxine Waters, a powerful Congresswoman, is under fire for her husband’s financial gain from TARP money that went to save his bank. What’s surprising to me is why this is a surprise. When government subsidizes private industry, there’s always a natural and logical conflict of interest for those who obtain that subsidy. With TARP, it happened on a massive and unprecedented scale. When government is the primary stockholder in any “private” entity, those who pull the political levers for obtaining that government handout will benefit directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly. Does a recipient of Medicare refuse to utilize the coverage? Does the recipient of a welfare payment fail to cash the check? Are we outraged or surprised when he does?
There’s no such thing as “fairness” or “ethics” when government initiates the use of force against peaceful citizens, seizes trillions of dollars in private wealth, and then hands it over to the politically connected. The face of Maxine Waters is the face of what philosopher Ayn Rand referred to as “the aristocracy of pull.” Under TARP, and other wealth-transfers like it, those who are too connected to fail will not fail. That’s why it won’t change when you replace Maxine Waters with Republican counterparts who believe the same thing; that government must transfer private income from those who earned it to those who can compel it through the political process. Corruption won’t go away until government stops being corrupt by robbing honestly productive Peter to pay politically connected Paul.