College Papers

In Davis, authors of “Making Systems of Privilege

In 2016, the New York Times surveyed approximately 2,000 people and of the 89 potential global fears the survey asked about, Americans said they were most afraid of federal government corruption. As of now, Federal Government corruption is more than just a fear…it is a reality. The Science and Security Board recently warned that the Doomsday Clock is at “2 minutes until midnight”, which symbolizes the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. This is the closest it has been to midnight since the early 1980s. Government corruption is a real and viable threat that must be addressed before time runs out. The impacts of political corruption within the United States are vast, however, there are many citizens and lawmakers that have suggested a solution to this problem. One solution that we find to be most effective is to create transparency in government spending. Civil participation and transparency in the process of government spending, provides less opportunity for malpractice and abuse. Wildman and Davis, authors of “Making Systems of Privilege Visible”, believe that those who are in power and are more privileged than others, would rather not think about the hardships of others. They can be quoted saying,”those who are overly privileged prefer to keep their wealth to themselves in order to pursue individual greed.” This is one major cause of why politicians and government employees turn to corruption. Enough is never enough when money and wealth are involved. Paul Collier, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Oxford, researched extensively into the adverse effects of corrupt systems of budget control. It is proven that Countries in which citizens actively participate in government spending and debate about public policies also makes a difference. In addition, freedom of press and levels of literacy will help establish important ways to implement reforms. A country that has an active civil society and a culture of participation are important factors aimed at reducing corruption. Fun fact: New Zealand, participant in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, is a pioneer in creating transparent budget processes after the approval in 1994 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which provides a legal framework for transparent management of public resources, as quoted by Brian Costar, author of “Electoral Democracy”. In the words of Peter Cohen, brokerage firm lawyer and CEO, “Corruption is so generally accepted that it far exceeds the dangers of terrorism, as it seeps into the most critical agencies of government and our national life.” Knowing that our corrupt government is accepted by those who inhabit our country is both sad and a major threat to our democratic government.Political corruption threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice. Corruption deprives our citizens of their constitutional and human rights. It threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice. Also, because public policies and resources are largely beneficial to children, the elderly, and the less fortunate, it is those who carry the heaviest  burden of corruption. Dependency on the government for protection, healthcare, education, and security makes them most vulnerable to corruption. Hinderance of economic development, poor quality of life and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption. Many acts of corruption deprive our citizens of their constitutional and their human rights. It is a fact that money coming from our citizens is used for government services and projects. This means that income taxes, income from government investments and other means of financing government expenditure are meant for social grants, scholarships, healthcare, roads, the supply of electricity and sustenance, and to ensure the safety of our citizens. Corruption and mismanagement practices erode into the nation’s prosperity, funneling resources and money away from important projects and those most dependent on government for support. Rose-Ackerman (1998), authors of the Political Economy of Corruption, recommend a strategy that increases the benefits of being transparent and increases the cost of being corrupt, which would work as a driving force to enact reforms. Subsequently, we believe these reforms will create transparency in government spending, which will inevitably reduce corruption within the U.S Government.By reducing and creating openness within government spending, we will be capable of creating pathways that give citizens relevant tools to engage and participate in their governments. This will also keep citizens engaged on corruption at local, national, international and global levels – in line with the scale and scope of corruption. By setting up a database and uploading all monetary information into a single open data set that’s easily accessible, we will allow our tax paying citizens and policymakers to identify and inhibit waste, abuse of power, and to measure the efficacy of federal projects. Citizens will be able to search through federal agencies’ expenditure  reports and dig into the details of each one. By putting all the economic information into one database that is easily accessible, this also enables policymakers and taxpayers to identify and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, and to measure the impact and ethical nature of federal projects. It is our responsibility to take care of our country, our home.  Similarly, Peter Singer, author of “The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle,  agrees that those in power need to take responsibility for their actions. He says that “our capacity to affect what is happening in the world is one way that today is an era of global responsibility.” If each of us become responsible for ourselves and our own success, the rest will fall into place. There are a minimal amount of reasons that some would give not to adopt this solution, however they still need to be addressed. Some say this transparency would give citizens too much insight into government practices, undermine government revenue, and limit the ability of the government to invest in productivity enhancing areas. In addition, the money that leaks out of the budget because of corruption will not be available to lighten the burden of the poor. However, we should still fight to implement this solution because it promotes sustainability, encourages a free market and economic growth, as well as adding 10% to the total cost of doing business globally, and a staggering 25% to the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries. Government transparency will keep citizens engaged on corruption at local, national, international and global levels. Members of Congress will have the ability to oversee federal projects, with easily accessible information on funding in agency accounts, and a clear flow of where federal dollars go.Besides all of the vastly important reasons why we should create transparency, we also have an ethical duty to eliminate corruption from our government. The U.S. Government was created to keep order, promote stability, and above all…be a force that implements justice and accountability. It is the government’s responsibility to uplift the economy and aid in public service. However, when the government is corrupt, instability occurs, which leaves everlasting effects on economies across the globe. In 2016, the United Nations held a convention to promote ideas that help end corrupt practices. It is a fact that an estimated one trillion US dollars gets siphoned off through bribes every year according to the World Bank and many officials at the Conference brought up this exact point. The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov says that corruption is a global threat and a major roadblock to economic development. He adds that “Corruption aggravates inequality and injustice, and undermines stability, especially in the world’s most vulnerable regions.” The General Assembly also recognizes that corruption is a hindrance to development and agrees that it “diverts resources away from poverty-eradication efforts and sustainable development.”Corruption also hit too close to home when just this year, Paul Manafort, the President’s former campaign manager, was arrested for money laundering, espionage, and collusion with the Russian Government to sabotage the Presidential election. It is a shame that the chances of Manafort actually being convicted of his crimes are very slim. It is reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that only 2% of corrupt officials are arrested for political corruption and the maximum sentence for political corruption is also only 2 years in some states. Therefore, it is important that we bring these acts of corruption to light. Our ethical duty is to solve these acts of corruption, however this is not just stated by those in power, but also stated in the document that gives us power; the Constitution. Article VI of the Articles of Confederation was the source of the Constitution’s prohibition on federal titles of nobility and the so-called Emoluments Clause. The clause sought to shield the republican character of the United States against corrupting influences. In layman’s terms, this means that our government cannot accept money or any other incentive from inside or outside influences, such as foreign countries. As of 2017, our own President Trump is in the news again for allegedly taking payments from a state controlled Chinese Bank. The President is also now involved in lawsuit for this claim.  “A federal officeholder who receives something of value from a foreign power can be imperceptibly induced to compromise what the Constitution insists be his or her exclusive loyalty: the best interest of the United States of America,”, says Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that filed the lawsuit against President Trump. It is important to note that although this lawsuit has been ruled, there is a very small chance that President Trump will appear in Court for these allegations. Like always, this act of corruption, among many others, will be swept under the rug and forgotten about in days.In conclusion, In order to solve the significant problem of political corruption, we have an ethical duty to create transparency and openness in government spending. The more open and transparent the process of government spending is, the less opportunity it will provide for malpractice.