Tag Archives: GOP

Big Government NOT Linked to Greater Corruption

You hear it all the time: “Big government is the problem.” “We need to reduce the size of the government if we want to eliminate corruption.” As it turns out, just because the government grows in size doesn’t mean that corruption will grow along with it.

From a journal article published last year [Emphasis added]:

This study’s findings suggest that anticorruption policy is regularly hindered by oversimplistic analyses suggesting that “government size” must be synonymous with “corruption,” and that by cutting its government a country is concomitantly reducing the opportunities for the abuse of public office. In contrast with such analyses, this study found no evidence that government size is directly associated with corruption. In fact, the findings presented here indicate that generally the reverse is true. Government size is inversely linked to the level of corruption across nations.

You read that right — the size of the government is inversely linked to the level of corruption across nations. Meaning, as the size of the government grows, the level of corruption seems to go down.

If you had to guess, what would you say would be the most effective way to reduce corruption? There’s a strong hint in the title of the journal article. From the article [Emphasis Added]:

This study’s analysis suggests that an increase in nonprofit sector size should have the greatest anticorruption effect.

This study was done on a global-scale. Here’s a list of some of the countries that were included (there were 50 in all): Argentina, Canada, Denmark, India, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Sweden, and South Korea. The study also looked at corruption at the national level.

Maybe this is a good time to clarify that one can’t actually measure corruption as it happens because by definition, corruption happens in secret. In order to get around this, proxies like “Black Market” activity are used. In this study, the researchers relied on the “Corruption Perception Index.”

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Even with studies like this being published, I worry that folks hellbent on “drowning government in the bathtub” will continue to use corruption in the opening salvo. And when pressed to face the facts of studies like this, they’ll explain it away as not being “relevant” to the US. So, I’d really like to see a study that specifically looks at government corruption in the US. Again, I realize the limitations of taking on a research question like this, but I think it would be interesting to look at the level of corruption in local and state governments. In fact, I’m sure there’d be differences in the level of corruption when moving from state to state, but I wonder if the difference in corruption would be negligible or if we might find something substantial. More than that, I’d be interested to see if government corruption is more strongly linked to one party or the other.

ResearchBlogging.orgThemudo, N. (2014). Government Size, Nonprofit Sector Strength, and Corruption: A Cross-National Examination The American Review of Public Administration, 44 (3), 309-323 DOI: 10.1177/0275074012465791

Massive Miscalculation by GOP Chairman Reince Priebus: No Debates with CNN or NBC

Earlier today, I saw a series of tweets from the GOP Chairman, Reince Priebus:

At first blush, it seems like nothing more than some kind of a stunt to draw attention to the matter. It’s also a great way for the Chairman to do some interviews and bad-mouth CNN/NBC. As I thought about it a bit more, it seems like this can’t end well for the Chairman:

It wouldn’t surprise anyone that there are more Democrats who watch MSNBC and more Republicans who watch Fox News, but what about the people who watch CNN? Well, as it happens, this is home to the political Independents of the electorate. According to TiVo data (actually quite sophisticated):

CNN, which has branded itself as the cable news network without a partisan skew, has apparently made the sale among independent voters. The network’s biggest skew was among independents, 17 percent above the national average with that group.

So, the majority of Independents that watch TV get their news from CNN. Let’s play out this scenario for the GOP. Assume that CNN/NBC decide not to pull their “Hillary Programming,” then the GOP has two options:

1. They’re forced into reneging on their initial stance of no primary debates for CNN/NBC.

2. Or, Like they said, having no debates with those networks. I suppose there might be some unforeseen third option, but at this point, this is what it looks like.

If they pull they’re debates with CNN/NBC, they’ll be losing out on the largest concentration of Independents. For a party that’s currently not in power that wants to be in power, in what will be an “up for grabs” election with President Barack Obama joining the list of Presidents who’ve served two terms, it seems ludicrous that they’d want to remove “free media” of their candidates to Independents.

So, this would force them into reneging on their stance of not having any debates with CNN/NBC, right? Except that this may make them look weak with their base of voters, which usually wouldn’t matter. However, “Republicans like elected officials who stick to their positions.” From my vantage point, this ultimatum has backed the GOP into a corner for which there is no escape.

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Revisiting that third option… it may just be that no one cares about any of this when the 2014 midterms roll around or the 2016 general election.

House Republicans are Trying to Change Their Homework… After It Should Have Already Been Handed In

While not a perfect metaphor, I can’t help but think of due dates and assignments as the fiscal cliff drama continues to unfold today. The latest has it that the House Republicans are not happy with the deal that the Senate passed earlier this morning and that they want to make amendments. Under normal circumstances, this is perfectly normal. The two chambers often make amendments to the bills the other has passed and then approve/disapprove, accordingly.

However, this time, it feels more like House Republicans have waited until the extreme last minute to complete their assignment… but now aren’t happy with the way that it looks. Everyone has known that the sequester has been in place for over a year (!) back when there was an agreement on the debt ceiling fight. There’s been plenty of time to craft a bill that everyone can agree to and avoid this New Year‘s Day farce. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happened.

In the last few days, the Speaker of the House said — essentially — that it was up to the Senate to pass a bill, so that the House could then vote on said bill. So, that’s exactly what the Senate did last night (or earlier this morning, depending on how you refer to the hours after midnight). As an aside, a huge thank you to all the Senate staffers who had to work through New Year’s eve. I can’t imagine that it was what they thought they’d be doing to ring in 2013. The Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support — 89 (out of 100) Senators voted for it.

So, now it’s up to the House to bring the bill to the floor and have a majority of it members vote to pass the bill. Unfortunately, the House Republicans want to amend the bill. They don’t like what’s in it. They don’t think it should pass as is. As I said earlier, under normal circumstances, this would be perfectly normal. However, the circumstances aren’t normal. The “due date” for this “assignment” was last night at midnight (and they didn’t hand it in on time). There’s a “hand it in late deadline” of Thursday and it looks like, if things continue the way they are continuing, that they’re going to blow right through that deadline, too. I certainly hope not.

When you’ve waited ’til the last minute to complete an assignment, you only have a certain number of hours to work with to get it done (I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of working on an assignment the night before [or the morning of] it’s due). It might not be your best work, but depending on the policies in the syllabus, you don’t necessarily have the option of delaying and handing it in well after the deadline. This is what’s happening today in Congress. The House needs to bring the bill to the floor  and pass it — posthaste.