Saturday, March 14, 2015

Operation Rent Seeking

How the war on terrorism became a business model.

By Mike Lofgren

In present-day America’s politically polarized atmosphere, it is easy to characterize divisive issues like the war on terrorism, the Wall Street bailout, or the Affordable Care Act as symbols of a clash of ideologies. Ideology is present in all of these issues, but it is possible to overrate it as a factor in contemporary policymaking. When I was a congressional staffer, I became acutely aware that elected officials choose issues to put at the top of their agendas mainly for their ability to shake money out of the purses of contributors. The subsequent histrionics in the House or Senate chamber are pure theater for the benefit of C-SPAN and the poor recluses who watch it. Behind every political cause is a racket designed to privatize the profits and socialize the losses.

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