August 30, 2014
‘Get Rich Cheating’
Posted on Jun 2, 2009
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 $14 million by overcharging the Pentagon for fuel deliveries, but that’s just because some low-level pencil pushers don’t realize how much it costs to maintain a squad of highly trained junior executives to suck up to you at the snap of a finger.
Not all the cash for these earmarks even makes it to where it’s ostensibly supposed to go6. Money gets lost along the pipeline. Why? Because Great Cheaters like you punch holes in the pipeline to siphon off barrels of sweet, sweet cash.
Those numbers are probably not accurate, because tracking the billions in earmarks is not-accidentally difficult to do. Whatever. There’s a lot of earmark money: Yes, there was a new ethics rule in 2007 about earmarks and pork barrel spending7, but that just made it more difficult to request money. Methinks congressional staffers can figure out how.
In$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.
•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.
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