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Are Government Bureaucrats Corrupt and Dishonest?
Townhall.com ^ | January 26, 2014 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 01/26/2014 8:31:00 AM PST by Kaslin

I don’t like government bureaucrats.

Actually, let me re-phrase that statement. I know lots of people who work for different agencies in Washington and most of them seem like decent people.

So maybe what I really want to say is that I’m not a big fan of government bureaucracies and the results they generate. Why?

Because a bloated government means overpaid bureaucrats, both at the federal level and state level (and in other nations as well).

Because inefficient bureaucracies enable loafing and bad work habits.

Because being part of the government workforce even encourages laziness!

And it may even be the case that government bureaucracies attract dishonest people. A story in the L.A. Times reveals that there’s a correlation between cheating and a desire to work for the government.

Here are some excerpts.

College students who cheated on a simple task were more likely to want government jobs, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania found in a study of hundreds of students in Bangalore, India. Their results, recently released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggest that one of the contributing forces behind government corruption could be who gets into government work in the first place. …Researchers ran a series of experiments with more than 600 students finishing up college in India. In one task, students had to privately roll a die and report what number they got. The higher the number, the more they would get paid. Each student rolled the die 42 times. …Cheating seemed to be rampant: More than a third of students had scores that fell in the top 1% of the predicted distribution, researchers found. Students who apparently cheated were 6.3% more likely to say they wanted to work in government, the researchers found.

I’m not surprised. Just as the wrong type of people often are attracted to politics, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that less-than-admirable folks sometimes are attracted to jobs in the bureaucracy.

But I don’t want to draw too many conclusions from this research.

The study looked at people in India and that nation’s government is infamous for rampant corruption.

However, if you look at how America scores in that regard (corruption measures are included in both Economic Freedom of the World and the Index of Economic Freedom), the problem is much less severe.

So even though I’m willing to believe that bureaucrats in America are more prone to bad habits than their private-sector counterparts, I don’t think many of them decide to get government jobs in the expectation that they can extract bribes.

Indeed, I would guess that the average American bureaucrat is far more honest than the average American politician.

That’s damning with faint praise, I realize, but it underscores an important point that the real problem is big government. That’s what enables massive corruption in Washington.

P.S. Switching gears, I’ve written a couple of times about the intrusive and destructive Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Well, we have some good news on that front. The Republican National Committee has endorsed the law’s repeal. I don’t want to pretend that’s a momentous development and I even told Reuters that the GOP may only be taking this step for narrow political reasons.

Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said: “It’s hard to imagine an issue this obscure playing a visible role in elections … It is making overseas Americans far more sympathetic to (Republicans) and could have an impact on fundraising.”

That being said, I’m more than happy when politicians happen to do the right thing simply because it’s in their self interest. And if we can eventually undo FATCA and enable more tax competition, that’s good news for America and the rest of the world.

P.P.S. And here’s another positive update on a topic we’ve examined before. Governor Rick Perry of Texas has joined a growing list of people who are having second thoughts about the War on Drugs. Here’s an excerpt from a report in the Washington Post.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Thursday voiced support for softening penalties for marijuana use, and touted his work moving in the direction of decriminalization. “After 40 years of the war on drugs, I can’t change what happened in the past. What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade,” Perry said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

He joins a growing list of people – such as John Stossel, Gary Johnson, John McCain, Mona Charen, Pat Robertson, Cory Booker, and Richard Bransonwho are recognizing that it’s foolish to give government massive amounts of power and money simply to stop people from doing dumb things to themselves.

But maybe you disagree with all those people and would rather be on the same side as Hillary Clinton.

And make life easier for the folks in this cartoon.

P.P.P.S. I’ve written before about how leftists always criticize so-called tax havens, even though rich statists are among the biggest beneficiaries of these low-tax jurisdictions.

President Obama, for instance, has been so critical of tax havens that he’s been caught making utterly dishonest statements on the topic.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: bureaucrats; danieljmitchel; druglegization; thinktankparasite; warondrugs
more in the link
1 posted on 01/26/2014 8:31:00 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Other questions for discussion:

1. Is the Pope Catholic?

< 2. Does a bear s**t in the woods?

2 posted on 01/26/2014 8:33:33 AM PST by ken5050 (This space available cheap...)
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To: Kaslin

Not all of them. Just most of them.


3 posted on 01/26/2014 8:34:51 AM PST by umgud (2A can't survive dem majorities)
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To: Kaslin

This is satire, right ???


4 posted on 01/26/2014 8:35:13 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: Kaslin

Actually, the picture of the worksite ‘managers’ is incorrect. They’re ALL union! The bureaucrats are all back at their offices telesupervising.


5 posted on 01/26/2014 8:35:39 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin

simple answer is ...YES


6 posted on 01/26/2014 8:38:54 AM PST by Nifster
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To: Kaslin
I think it is unwise to focus on bribery. It's out there, but I do not think the DMV will treat me better if I slip the lady a $20.

The problem is that government bureaucracies are Jobs Programs. To a large extent, they take unemployable people are give them "jobs" so that they can receive paychecks. Many government acquisitions programs are not about acquiring anything. The schedule doesn't really matter. The cost doesn't really matter. The requirements don't really matter. IT'S THE FUNDING. Will there be jobs? In the right election districts? Will my district get 2000 jobs? Nothing else matters.

Technically, this is not exactly bribery, but it is corrupt and dishonest.

7 posted on 01/26/2014 8:48:28 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Anti-Complacency League! Baby!)
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To: Kaslin

Kaslin,
Been to 49 states and 35 foreignn countries.
Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve asked the locals what they think of their politicians?
Mexico, Bahamas, S. Korea, Japan etc they ALL say their politicians are crooks.


8 posted on 01/26/2014 8:52:13 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) obammy lied and lied and lied)
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To: Kaslin

Except for uniformed military, every person that I know that works in government is not worth their salt. Not one is employable outside of government, NOT ONE.
Civil service in most jurisdictions is an extended family, lifetime employment program.
Did you know that if you score too high on a civil service test for the Police, you won’t be hired? They want drones, not thinkers.
Uniformed military is different is so many ways that they should never be considered in the same light. Honor our uniformed military. They preserve the freedom you enjoy.


9 posted on 01/26/2014 8:58:55 AM PST by Macoozie (1) Win the Senate 2) Repeal Obamacare 3) Impeach Roberts)
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10 posted on 01/26/2014 9:03:38 AM PST by RedMDer (Happy with this, America? Make your voices heard. 2014 is just around the corner. ~ Sarah Palin)
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To: Kaslin

Even the most skilled, most honest, hardest-working government civilian employee is probably doing a job that increases hassles and costs and reduces freedom, in an agency that shouldn’t exist.


11 posted on 01/26/2014 9:05:48 AM PST by Tax-chick (I'm not interested in the sporting event.)
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To: Kaslin

Hell yes it’s why D.C. is the good old boy club honest people get pushed out asap.


12 posted on 01/26/2014 9:06:46 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: Kaslin
Are Government Bureaucrats Corrupt and Dishonest?

Only because crooked politicians don't want honest people working for them. Honest bureaucrats would rat them out or stop their schemes.

13 posted on 01/26/2014 9:14:33 AM PST by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: Kaslin

If the truth be known they have all committed a felony somewhere down the line to get where they are.


14 posted on 01/26/2014 9:14:56 AM PST by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal the 16th Amendment)
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To: Kaslin

Dishonesty is a huge problem at all levels of bureaucracy. Most of these people realize either going in, or soon after, that bureaucracies mostly exist so that bureaucrats can help themselves to other peoples’ money.

Corruption is a problem. The lower level bureaucrats don’t actively engage in it, but they’re more than happy to turn a blind eye to what their higher-ups are doing to keep the gravy train rolling for all of them.


15 posted on 01/26/2014 9:18:00 AM PST by CowboyJay (Cruz'-ing in 2016!)
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To: Tax-chick

I submit that the DoD Weapons Research and Development Labs exist for a good purpose.

Within them are honest, hard-working, and world-class scientists and engineers, who could work elsewhere (for more pay), but do not, because of a sense of duty to country.

And there are also slugs and do-nothings as described above.


16 posted on 01/26/2014 9:43:03 AM PST by Scrambler Bob ( Concerning bo -- that refers to the president. If I capitalize it, I mean the dog.)
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To: Scrambler Bob
DoD Weapons Research and Development Labs exist for a good purpose.

They do. However, the question could be raised as to whether this is something that needs to be done by government employees as opposed to non-government employees.

There are plenty of skilled people in government employment, plenty of decent people. However, just for example, if you're a really good, hardworking systems administrator (accountant, janitor) for the Department of Education, you're still part of the problem, because the Department of Education shouldn't exist, period.

17 posted on 01/26/2014 9:46:02 AM PST by Tax-chick (I'm not interested in the sporting event.)
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To: ken5050

3. Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?


18 posted on 01/26/2014 9:46:57 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: Tax-chick

Non-govt is the defense contractors. Not a good situation at present. Maybe could be better if congressional district favoritism could be controlled. Labs act as check and balance to contractors, as competitors even.

Dept of Ed is not in Constitution (agree). Defense of country is.


19 posted on 01/26/2014 10:22:49 AM PST by Scrambler Bob ( Concerning bo -- that refers to the president. If I capitalize it, I mean the dog.)
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To: umgud

True


20 posted on 01/26/2014 10:47:42 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

I have worked closely with state and federal agencies for more than 20 years. Many of them are ideologues, particularly of the environmental or progressive persuasion. In their minds, the ends justify the means.


21 posted on 01/26/2014 11:17:34 AM PST by marsh2
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To: Kaslin

Such bureaucrats and their many associates dominate in politics, because they have the money and time to do so. They’ve outlawed many important kinds of work through regulations and are driving the economy into the ground—realities of the economy being concealed by continued schemes for using recirculating debt.


22 posted on 01/26/2014 12:20:06 PM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
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To: Scrambler Bob
Non-govt is the defense contractors. Not a good situation at present.

I agree. I only said "it could be argued" that some functions didn't have to be DoD employees, not that it went without saying!

23 posted on 01/26/2014 12:39:11 PM PST by Tax-chick (I'm not interested in the sporting event.)
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To: Kaslin

would love to see a website that can detail for us the Financial statements of our Reps and Senators before they entered office and what they’re worth now...


24 posted on 01/26/2014 12:45:23 PM PST by bitt (If Obama is really worried about “the children”, he should be bombing planned parenthood.)
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To: bitt
Forget the net worth of Reps and Senators.

I want to see that chart of net worth change for bureaucrats and unappointed czars.

25 posted on 01/26/2014 11:34:29 PM PST by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Tax-chick

I think pretty much everything the government does should be contracted out. There is not much the government employees do that could not be done by contractors. It is much easier to terminate contractors that do not perform or are not needed anymore than it is to terminate government employees. As a bonus, we don’t have to pay them when they retire either.


26 posted on 01/27/2014 9:35:32 AM PST by jospehm20
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To: jospehm20

When my father retired from the Navy in the mid 1980s, he went to work for a “Beltway bandit” defense contracting firm doing what he’d done for the Navy in his last years, nuclear weapons logistics. Every time a new contract was signed to manage the Sparrow missile program, the new contractor would hire the staff from the previous contractor.


27 posted on 01/27/2014 12:13:07 PM PST by Tax-chick (You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.)
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To: Tax-chick

I have been on and know of contracts that ended and the new company hired nobody off the old contract. I was once working on a contract where the Army just cancelled the whole thing in January because they needed the money for the war elsewhere and they picked it up again in October. Sometimes they just hire the old crew. It varies. The government and the companies usually do what is more expedient or cheaper for them. The point is, hiring contractors to do stuff gives the government flexibility they do not have with government employees.


28 posted on 01/27/2014 5:42:17 PM PST by jospehm20
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