Bill and Hillary Clinton can obviously fit the definition of treasonous.  While mainstream media fumbles in desperation to toss the Clinton’s life preservers consider the former President and his wife aren’t alone.

Political corruption starts small and it’s built into our system of government.  When I was a young broadcaster I worked in a metropolitan area served by divided government.  The city usually dominated by Democrats and the county by Republicans.  The two governments fought essentially over spoils and not over views on how best to conduct business in the public interest.  The city was home to a large symphony orchestra, which was under the protection of county government.  The county constructed a large performance center to house the symphony.  Then the building pretty much sat empty but for musicians performing for walls.

Government funds political interests.
Government funds political interests.

Every couple of years the orchestra was in danger of going under.  Primarily subsidized by taxpayers because ticket sales wouldn’t have covered expenses even if the building was filled, the musicians would plead their case to media.  They had a union but didn’t make much money (albeit, as county workers I guess they had a good government retirement plan).  They would sleep late mornings, rehearse afternoons and perform once and sometimes twice a week.  I suppose it didn’t occur to them they could make more money teaching in schools or joining a local rock band and performing on the roadhouse circuit.  The latter is a free market solution.  Clearly there wasn’t much public demand for symphonic music in the late 20th Century.  Constantly faced with silence the county would open hearings and crying musicians and a handful of orchestra fans would parade before budget committees.  The argument was always “Quality of life” and if I had a dollar of my own for every time I heard it repeated I would be rich.  You understand the few people who wanted to spare the musicians constituted perhaps less than one percent of county taxpayers and, yet.  They were among the wealthiest of the old money in the area.  While they could’ve personally endowed the orchestra their preference was for Joe Six-Pack to share the cost.  Because, of course, Joe needed to be acculturated.  Not that you could force him to attend performances but you could load his kids into school busses and send them off to experience art.  My own daughter was among the children allowed to sleep through the music.

The county executive was a guy who liked bowling, pro-wrestling and hockey, as I did, and the same could be said for the overwhelming number of constituents.  The rich guys didn’t subsidize wrestling, bowling and hockey.  As fans we had to pay our own way.   So how did they get my money for their pastime and I got nothing?

They could afford to donate to campaigns.  There were 24 county legislators and one executive.  Tossing a few hundred dollars in contributions before Election Day was still a much better bargain than creating an endowment.  Was it corrupt?  Yes.  Was it criminal?  No.

I angered some of these ascot wearing tycoons when at a news conference one day I embarrassed the politicians and the orchestra conductor.  “How can you justify using my tax dollars to feed a dead horse in what is essentially a beer and pizza town?” I inquired.  The conductor attempted to belittle me and then the politicians all laughed.  “Quality of life,” Bill.

Now who gets to make that determination?  Not my quality of life.  The official argument was a good symphony orchestra would attract new companies and new companies bring much needed jobs.  Funny, in my job I was party to a great deal of research supplied by the 5 competing and government funded economic development agencies in the county and never once did a firm answer a survey on relocation according to musical selection.  The factors were few.  Qualified and inexpensive labor.  Cheap energy and low taxes.  A low regulatory burden.  Nothing else.  Sports, entertainment, crime and weather didn’t make the lists.

Government at all levels serves primarily the special interests who grease the wheels of political wagons.  Imagine how much more corrupt the system is when you leave the county level and perform as the Clintons do on a world stage.


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