Here is a piece of corruption that is all too common among politicians.
The guy who is about to be elected the next mayor of the Big Apple, Bill de Blasio, was formerly a Brooklyn city councilman. Sometime around 2005, his wife, Chirlane McCray, was looking for a job. So, he introduced her to the CEO of a hospital in his district.
On the city council, de Blasio had pushed for millions of taxpayer bucks for the hospital, Maimonides Medical Center. The hospital had good reason to be grateful to him. It had reason to believe it might be punished if it did not find her a job.
But, Maimonides had no job open. So, it created one — just for the councilman’s wife. Funny that. Because various city hospitals have found many jobs for wives and friends and relatives of politicians. These happen to be politicians who stream millions of dollars to the hospitals. It’s all just a coincidence, of course.
Such was the work of Hillary Rodham Clinton at a Little Rock law firm. She got the job because she was the governor’s wife. And, the firm got lots of work as a result.
Michelle Obama landed a fat job with few qualifications, at the University of Chicago Medical Center — while her husband served in a powerful political position.
If you pry, you will find thousands of these jobs all over this state and nation. They are the fruits of soft corruption. The type of corruption too many of us accept. We just shrug and say, “What’s new? Politicians have always done this stuff.”
Are these no-show jobs? Some of them. Are they nudge and wink jobs? Jobs that pay $300,000 for $50,000 worth of work? Often.
Are they “If you know what’s good for you…” jobs? That is, if you want the tax money to keep flowing your way, you had better find a job for my wife/pal/nephew. Yes, many of them are such positions.
When Monica Lewinsky held a razor to Bill Clinton’s political throat? His pal Vernon Jordan hit up some big companies to find a big job for the temptress. To shut her up. Companies responded rather than risk the back of the hand of the president.
So, you shrug this off. You say it doesn’t hurt you in any way. Maybe it doesn’t. And maybe it does.
How many bucks — your tax dollars — get wasted this way? How many millions are shoveled to projects only because somebody needs to be rewarded? How many legitimate candidates lose out on jobs because they have no connections to elite political figures?
Meanwhile, how much do the inefficiencies cost? Those that come from unqualified people filling jobs they screw up.
We cannot know. But we cannot deny that this corruption carries a price tag.
It also breeds cynicism among those who work under such appointees. And among those who know about this stuff and never bother to apply for jobs — because they know the game is rigged.
It breeds a cynicism among voters. They lose faith in a system that allows and encourages this stuff. They come to believe that one hand washing the other leaves both hands filthy. In Albany. In city and town governments. In Washington, DC.
If enough of us dwell on stuff like this, we could come up with a new dance. C’mon, everybody, let’s Shrug! During the dance, somebody picks your pocket.
From Tom...as in Morgan.
Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home near Oneonta, in addition to his radio shows and new TV show. For more information about him, visit his website at www.tomasinmorgan.com