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Arts and Culture

‘Get Rich Cheating’

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Posted on Jun 2, 2009
Harper Paperbacks

Jeff Kreisler

(Page 2)

CHEAT CHAT
Paid for Services Not Rendered

Charge Uncle Sam for work you’ve already done, you’ve done poorly, or you never intend to do. Meaninglessness has its price. Michael Cantrell got money for firms to test and design things they’d already tested and designed, prisons and detention centers are routinely built for way below their fee, and where did the money for that Bridge to Nowhere go? Nowhere, a.k.a. someone’s bank account.

Or just flat out overbill, baby. Do an hour of work,charge for a week. With all that bureaucracy, they’ll never catch on. Okay, Schering-Plough agreed to a $435 million settlement for overcharges and Halliburton’s always getting “cited” for excessive costs and Harry Sargeant III was accused of making $14 million by overcharging the Pentagon for fuel deliveries, but that’s just because some low-level pencil pushers don’t realize how much it costs to maintain a squad of highly trained junior executives to suck up to you at the snap of a finger.

 

book cover

 

Get Rich Cheating

 

By Jeff Kreisler

 

Harper Paperbacks, 336 pages

 

Buy the book

Earmarks
Earmarks are an exciting way for your government connections to get you money. What’s an “earmark”? A tiny birthmark in the shape of a dollar sign on the ear of a giant who smashes others’ dreams. Despite grandstanding reform and veto pledges by the likes of several-million-in-earmarks-getting candidate John McCain, the spending bill for fiscal year 2008 included more than 2,200 earmarks worth $1 billion5, and that number is sure to increase because that’s what Thomas Jefferson would’ve wanted.

Not all the cash for these earmarks even makes it to where it’s ostensibly supposed to go6. Money gets lost along the pipeline. Why? Because Great Cheaters like you punch holes in the pipeline to siphon off barrels of sweet, sweet cash.

Those numbers are probably not accurate, because tracking the billions in earmarks is not-accidentally difficult to do. Whatever. There’s a lot of earmark money: Yes, there was a new ethics rule in 2007 about earmarks and pork barrel spending7, but that just made it more difficult to request money. Methinks congressional staffers can figure out how.


Rules, Schmules
On the off chance that you can’t get around the rules, bend ’em, twist ’em, and change ’em. Legalize your schemes for cheating success.

In$piration: “If you set the rules . . . it’s almost impossible to lose.” —Karl Rove8

After repeatedly losing the state, the Republican Party tried to change the rules of the electoral college so that California’s votes in the presidential election would be distributed proportionally, not winner-take-all. Haven’t succeeded yet, but give ’em time. (Maybe they’ll bag that and just change the rules to allow an Ahnold to be president.)

After—and during—repeated losing, Hillary Clinton tried to change the rules regarding the counting of delegates in Michigan, Florida, and Texas during the ’08 Democratic primaries. All those states have strong college football traditions, i.e., a high tolerance for cheating. Coincidence? Probably.

Speaking of football, after repeatedly losing to the New England Patriots in the playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts whined their way into meeting with the rules committee to change the game. Peyton Manning benefited from the NFL’s subsequent greater emphasis on the illegal contact rule. He set records, won a championship, and made millions for himself, his team, and whoever produces the ten thousand commercials he’s in every goddamn day.

Let the Great Cheaters lead by example:

•GWB got installed as president when the Supreme Court decided to change its rules on federalism and equal protection, but just for that case, not for future decisions. It’s a “Get out of not being president for free” card.
•W., just like every president, signed a zillion “midnight regulations” to give away what little government money was left without that annoying “I’m Just a Bill” song from Schoolhouse Rock.
•The administrator of the EPA reversed a ruling allowing California to limit auto emissions after pressure from the White House. Well, duh, by the time the mutations kick in, we’ll all be long gone. Let California’s grandkids deal with the radioactive three-headed toads.
•As his company neared catastrophe, Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial changed the company’s rules to allow himself to sell hundreds of millions in stock.
•During the height of the lending boom, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC, not to be confused with OPP) invoked an obscure 1863 law to preempt all state predatory banking laws. No reason you can’t time travel to keep cheating.
•The SEC voted against allowing investors to nominate their own board members, meaning folks getting screwed by us bigwigs can still do nothing about it.
•Many states have adopted strict voter ID laws again. According to a judge in Indiana, his state’s law is a “not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic.9Nonsense. If you can’t correctly answer the simple, straightforward question “Are you a Republican?” you shouldn’t get to vote.
•Missouri claims their voting ID laws exist to stop illegal immigrants from interrupting the voting process. Sure, because there’s nothing illegal immigrants like more than to go into government offices and ask to speak to someone in charge.

 


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godistwaddle's avatar

By godistwaddle, June 8, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

At least cheating doesn’t directly murder and exploit littler, browner people.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, June 7, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

The United States has a CAPITALIST Economy, of which:

The American Aristocracy has “Moneyed Capital”,

The Professional Middle Class Singularity of Toadies have “Cultural Capital”, and

The 70% Majority Common Population as a class and culture have no capital remuneration from the capitalist system, and MUST DEMAND to have “Workforce Capital” in the economy of the United States.

In a capitalist system, if we are going to continue having a capitalist system in the United States, all classes and cultures must share in the benefit of capital.  Otherwise, capitalism in the United States is nothing more than a scheme of idealism by the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class to perpetuate advantage for their combined 30% minority at the expense of the 70% majority common population as a class and culture, who receive only wages while both the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class receive capital.

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By samosamo, June 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Why are comments to this post not appearing, just as I will assume this comment will not appear?

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By samosamo, June 5, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

What the hell happened to this article? I commented to it last night and today I have 2 email notices of other comments but there are NONE!

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By nimblehuman, June 5, 2009 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

This is exactly what infuriates me about Republicans, who ooze self-righteousness in public while busily fleecing the country.

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By PRGP, June 5, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

The book would seem to be very revealing and sadly funny if it didn’t expose the very lowest of lifeforms on the planet.  Lifeforms that should be exterminated.

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By samosamo, June 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

No doubt that this will become the only text book kids will need to garner an ‘elitist’ income but they will still have to know how to read and comprehend.

Besides, those kids want have to be bothered by going to all those other classes to learn all that dumb stuff that is dull and boring.

The comment is brought to you by ‘satire’.

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By John Acton, June 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

“Moving Water Industries Corp. recently won a $32 million New Orleans drainage contract from the Army Corps of Engineers. The company’s bid matched up nicely with the specifications of the Army’s request for bids, which just happened to have been taken verbatim, typos and all, from the catalog of . . . ding! . . . Moving Water Industries Corp. Hey, it’s not their fault the Army can’t afford to hire competent employees.”

Perhaps the fact that MWI was the only company in the World have built the specific type and size of pump that the USACE needed for its unprecedented engineering feat to prepare New Orland for another Katrina in 2006; or perhaps the fact that MWI has a US patent on these unique type of pumps; or perhaps the fact that the USACE used MWI rental pumps to dewater New Orleans in half the time they originally projected; or perhaps that MWI was the only pump company willing to build these custom designed, engineered, and built pumps in USACE specific demand for delivery in less than 6 months may have influenced the Corps decision.  BTW, the engineers working for the COrps are extremely competent - it is the politicians that cause diasters such as Katerina in New Oleans.  Please note there has no repeat of the disasterous flooding of New Orleans since the 2005 Hurricaine season.

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By Wayward Indc, June 3, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow - this article is so accurate, but it barely scratches the
keyboard. Most folks have no clue of the massive lottery style earnings/theft of the Contractors. Small 8a’s with a nice bit of nepotism and you’re a millionaire! KACHING!
  It’s nothing to do at all to do with the work, it’s a sole-sorce treadmill of hiring and firing people for tax purposes and making good friends of the check writers. Think of any agency and rest assured it’s partly held-captive.

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