Monday, December 15, 2008

Pay-to-Play: Why the Fuss? (Tom DiLorenzo)

Tom DiLorenzo on how the governor of Illinois is following the footsteps of other notorious crooks commonly known as "Chicago politicians," namely the most famous of them all, Father Abraham Lincoln:

[G]overnment, like a highwayman, says to a man: "Your money or your life."
~ Lysander Spooner

[T]he state is an inherently illegitimate institution of . . . organized . . . crime against the persons and properties of its subjects.
~ Murray Rothbard

The Washington establishment and its kept media are feigning outrage over the fact that the governor of Illinois has been selling political favors. So far, the biggest laugh line came from federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who claimed that Abraham Lincoln would roll over in his grave if he were to know that an Illinois politician was selling political favors to the highest bidder. In reality, Lincoln would be rolling his eyes over the stupidity of such a statement. As Pulitzer prize-winning Lincoln biographer David Donald has noted, Lincoln’s aspiration as a young pol was to be "the DeWitt Clinton of Illinois." DeWitt Clinton was the governor of New York who is "credited" with having invented the spoils system.

By the time Lincoln ran for president, writes David Donald, he had become the master string puller in Illinois politics. He was what would today be called a "lobbyist" for the railroad corporations. In the late 1830s he led the effort to get the Illinois legislature to spend more than $10 million on "internal improvements" of roads and canals, none of which were ever finished; much of the money was stolen; and the taxpayers of Illinois were put deep into debt for many years. A Chicago politician is what we would call him today – a precursor of Mayor Daley and Congressman (and convicted felon) Danny Rostenkowski.

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