Creating A Culture Of Corruption In New Jersey
Michael Carroll explains one of the root causes of New Jersey’s culture of corruption– the people voting for these spandrels aren’t the folks picking up the tab.
Most serious political corruption tends to be an urban problem. And a Democrat problem. Not because Republicans are inherently more virtuous, but because they tend to approach government from a different perspective than do Democrats. Dems see government as an engine for legally stealing from A to benefit B. Republicans, contrariwise, see government as a bulwark to prevent B from stealing from A.
The Dem mentality inevitably gives rise to corruption, both of the illegal and legal sort.
First, victims of theft tend to object, but if the thief is playing Robin Hood, he creates a substantial constituency for theft. If the beneficiaries of the theft are the residents of a particular district, while the victims live somewhere else, Robin will repeatedly win office in a landslide, even if he’s not exactly pure of heart, and takes a cut for himself and his band of merry marauders.
Consider Sharpe James and Wayne Bryant, the poster boys for (apparently) "legal" corruption. If one lived in Newark or Camden, and benefited from the huge amount of boodle these two legislators managed to secure for their constituencies, how would one vote? Put another way, if Sharpe delivers hundreds of millions in pork each year – goodies that his constituents enjoy at someone else’s expense – are yachts, a Rolls, and trips to Rio too high a price to pay? If Camden gets billions due to Bryant’s efforts, are governmental jobs for his entire family unreasonable compensation? Why should the voters of Newark or Camden care? They aren’t paying the bills.