Public Officials and Corruption—The Chinese Way

The Associated Press this morning has reported that:

A court clerk says a former Beijing vice mayor in charge of overseeing Olympic construction projects has been given a death sentence for corruption.

The Intermediate People's Court in Hengshui, a city outside Beijing, ordered the death sentence Saturday after finding Liu Zhihua guilty of taking bribes.

But a court clerk says the sentence was "suspended" for two years.

The reprieve means if Liu shows good behavior his sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not all for making corruption over here a capital offense, but it really does beg the question regarding those so-called public servants who set the current economic crisis in motion, prevented anything from stopping it over the years and are now using it to lionize themselves, push pork and hammer John McCain, the one person on record in this mess to have actually tried to solve the problems while they were solvable. What is being done with these jokers?

In a word, nothing. Jimmy Carter is still floating around, the Grand Old Man of the Democratic Party. It was Carter that pushed the Community Reinvestment Act, which began the banking industry's slide to ruin. Bill Clinton likewise, and for the same reasons. Chris Dodd (received under the table sweetheart mortgages), Barney Frank (had an actual Fannie Mae sweetheart), the Congressional Leadership (eager to socialize the economy) and the Congressional Black Caucus (serving minorities to the exclusion of economic reality) are all tainted by what should be a scandal. The Bush Administration (Republicans on paper but highly questionable conservatives in practice) and the President's financial functionaries (Wall Street Veterans all with the Wall Street mindset that helped to bring us here in the first place) and they have taken a trillion and change from you and me and are redistributing it through and to the very people whose bad behavior caused the financial meltdown in the first place.

Some stupidly panicked. I would like to put Bush under this heading but I am not sure. Others used the crisis as an excuse to pile on pork since they cynically understood that something—anything—had to be done. Others, however, had the idea that taking socializing the financial sector was a good idea. They have succeeded and there is more to come.

This is like asking the fox that just decimated the hen house to supervise the acquisition of new hens. It is stupid, it is wrong and it is so politics-as-usual-in-Washington. Unfortunately, it is also a done deal. Still, there is always the opportunity to deal with the malefactors themselves.

The folks in China have it right. Public officials need to be held accountable—personally accountable—for the problems they create. If they were, then perhaps more of our politicians would insist on doing what is right for America and the American people, as opposed to following their party line.