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The conservative response to big time corruption: Promote smallness

By Bruce Walker
web posted July 22, 2002

The real story of corruption in America is "bigness." This is the heart of nearly every major scandal which has rocked American society over the last few decades. The United States House of Representatives - whose members are now pontificating about corporate "corruption" - are scarcely past the shadow of the House Banking scandal: the grandest political scandal in the history of the United States.

When auditors reviewed the House of Representatives after Republicans gained power in 1995, these auditors said that the House of Representatives - those very people now castigating big business! - had the worst audit of any organization ever.

Democrat leaders who drool over giant business scandals are the same good people who swapped campaign support in national political campaigns with elections within the AFL-CIO so incestuously and insidiously that it makes "insider trading" look positively tame.

Does the ethics of Enron look bad? What about the ethics of those vast corporate empires who provide "information" to Americans and whose oligarchies routinely ignore the offenses of liberals and Democrats? Is their utter neglect of responsibility to the public - a failure which corporations which receive license to a monopoly of the broadcast spectrum - more egregious than Enron or other types of businesses?

Perhaps the worst offense of these guardians of the Fourth Estate is their utter failure to challenge their brethren. When has that huge corporation known as CNN ever taken to task that vast pot of money called CBS for Dan Rather's blatant partisanship? When Rather failed to even mention Gary Condit for weeks and weeks, did ABC News and its richly paid executives point that critical fact out to the public? Or have these enormous piles of cash with special government privileges not, in fact, used that very power to conceal the truth from Americans?

But what liberals pejoratively call "business" is barely the tip of corruption in America. Vast charities, like The United Way, and absurdly self-interested nonprofit organizations like the NAACP have both been rocked by scandals that reached the very apex of their leadership. How many board members and officers in those non-business businesses were at least grossly negligent? How many were criminally liable, but ignored by liberals?

Within the endless labyrinth of the federal government, is there action to actually reduce government, consolidate agencies and devolve power back to state and local governments? Or is the push instead to federalize state and local governments so that their programs and policies are all part of one giant and single government?

Perhaps the grossest and most bloated example of collective crime committed against the innocent individual, however, is probably the unaccountable, unintelligible, uneconomical and unliberated sector of public life which is laughingly called "higher education." What is the most common complaint about losses in the stock market? "How will we pay for our kids to go to college?" Should not the question be: "Why does college cost so very much and produce so very little, despite huge infusions of state and federal dollars?" Or perhaps "Why are those universities so lavishly supported by tax dollars and tax breaks not graduating accountants, lawyers and business majors with simple ethical principles?"

The American people have much reason to be furious. Our sweat and our blood have gone into creating huge, sprawling plantations of leftist inefficiency. Bigness in a true free market is not badness, but bigness in highly regulated industries, bigness in myriad and nauseating "public interest" organizations, bigness in comically incompetent and intolerant "higher education" and
bigness in government itself is bad.

Conservatives should come out swinging for the little guy. What big organization in America stands up for conservatives? Are there any? Those few are big because of large scale voluntary support, and those dwindling few, like the Boy Scouts of America, are subject to incessant pinpricks by leftist jihads.

So we have nothing to lose by supporting smallness everywhere, not by punishing bigness but by rewarding smallness. The principal obstacle to smallness (which was very much the norm in American society in its first century) is the cost of doing government, legal and political business.

What are some practical proposals to make us small again? How about eliminating entirely the corporate income tax and estate tax for small, privately held corporations? These do not endanger the public with funny stock schemes, but rely instead upon fundamental profitability. Let the owners and operators of these small businesses keep their profits.

Why not go a step beyond that and offer federal incorporation to small businesses? Make these federally incorporated businesses exempt from state sales taxes and establish a uniform standard of simple rules which preempted local, state and federal laws and regulations in areas like employment law, environmental law, and the like. Limit the size of these corporations, so when they reach beyond a certain size and want to "go public" then they will have all the hurdles to jump through which big businesses today have, but this reform would dramatically open up business to the small operator who already has a vested interest in the accuracy of his business data.

Why not allow many small colleges - there used to be "colleges" once didn't there? - to have preference in student loans and much other support? Insist that all administrators in these colleges actually teach, actually grade papers, and actually provide correct information in class, and limit the size of the college student population to one thousand students. At the same time, reduce dramatically the direct and indirect support for those leviathans which we call "universities."

Why not pass a federal election law that makes it very easy for small, single-issue parties to get on the ballot, but then allows many different parties to simultaneously support a single candidate? So irate conservatives could join a National Really Conservative Party, but in casting our ballots in federal and state elections, have those ballots go to the Republican Party nominee? At some point when the winning Republican candidate sees that eighty percent of his support is from supporters in the National Really Conservative Party, then other political changes can move forward more easily.

Why not grant special tax exemptions to small presses, small magazines, small television and movie producers - small anyone who is truly and independently making commentary upon society and politics - so that we can get a lot of independent voices engaging in our ongoing national debate on policy, morals and culture?

Why not come out before the nation, Mr. President, and make a compelling case for returning power, accountability, responsibility and initiative back to those individuals who make up America? Corporations are "fictional persons" and nonprofit organizations and government bureaucracies are even more inhuman creatures. People, not gigantic monoliths of lockstep organization, make all good in our lives. Return power to the smallest, and the most beneficial, entity in all our land: you and me.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a contributor to Citizens View, The Common Conservative, Conservative Truth and Port of Call.

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