The Corner

Rum, Bribery and the Lash

Tim Carney wants to put more than 300 Congressmen in jail for passing that scandalous farm bill because others have been imprisoned for similar behavior.

[P]erhaps the most inexplicable part [of the farm bill] is the provision instructing the federal government to buy “surplus” sugar from sugar growers and then sell it to make ethanol. Taxpayers will buy overpriced sugar and then sell it to ethanol makers at an artificially low price — a sweet deal for sugar and ethanol barons, and a raw deal for taxpayers.

…In 2003, [Duke] Cunningham sold his house in Del Mar to defense contractor Mitchell Wade for $1.675 million. Cunningham had used his perch as a defense appropriator to steer contracts to Wade’s company. Wade, it appeared, had deliberately overpaid: He immediately put the house back on the market and sold it for less than $1 million.

At least Wade paid the bribes using his own money. Congress is now the briber, using tax dollars to overpay for sugar, which the government will then sell at a loss. It is “bribing” the sugar growers and ethanol producers, who, in return, are sweetening many of these lawmakers’ campaign coffers. The farm bill has a handful of sugar subsidies, all of which make life more expensive for the rest of us, but guarantee a continued flow of sugar cash for congressmen.

Hard to argue with his point, except perhaps to suggest a harsher sentence.

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