Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Interesting Argument

Star Parker writes on Tom Delay's recent ethics problems with an intriguing argument. Apparently if Mr. Delay did anything wrong, we should blame the government for being too big, rather than Mr. Delay.
If the federal government influenced a tiny fraction of our lives, then few would care if a contractor or businessman wanted to take a favorite congressman or Senator on a golfing trip. But when the federal government consumes one of every four dollars produced by the U.S. economy and congressman and senators significantly influence our social and economic reality, we care what they do.

We have seen many changes in congressional rules on "ethics" over the last quarter century. A couple of House speakers, among others, have been booted out. Yet, who would say that Washington today is a more virtuous, more ethical place than it was 25 years ago? With trillions of dollars at stake and outcomes dependent on the inclinations of politicians, it is a joke to think that arbitrary rules about how much can be accepted from whom and for what will change the game.
This does seem like a complicated way of saying the Democrats made him do it. If only Government were the right size, nobody would try to bribe Tom Delay. Corporations wouldn't need to; they could pretty much do whatever they like.

Still as a defense of Tom Delay, it's pretty weak. It works better as an indictment of the system, because the implication is that Mr. Delay probably is guilty.

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