The IRS announcement that tax filing season is about to begin despite the partial shutdown sent a strong message to taxpayers about what we are good for in Washington’s eyes. We are here to fund our lawmakers’ government at their whim with no guarantee that they won’t deny us what we pay for.
When the ends justify the means government ethics is an anachronism. Classic abuses like corruption in office are difficult to ignore and are usually punished sooner or later. Sneaky bad behaviors like spreading propaganda and disinformation are subtle and do more damage because they are harder to spot and can influence millions.
Capitol Hill still hasn’t rid Washington of insider trading. Like term limits, that’s going to be a very difficult ethics rule to get everyone to agree to but at least it’s a conflict we know about.
Government ethics: the worst problems hide
The worst types of unethical behavior are the ones we don’t see coming. They undermine what America stands for and what we believe in. Examples are political rhetoric that distorts the truth, pandering to big money donors, and selecting special interests for legislative favoritism. All of these things point to how government ethics falls by the wayside when opportunity knocks.
The ethics of winning and losing
The rise and fall of Hillary Rodham Clinton and lingering anger among her supporters speaks volumes about America's ability to look the other way when confronted with ethical lapses.
With Donald Trump in charge ethics is about foreign interference in our government. Robert Mueller took the first head with the Manafort indictment. Now we’re warned that Michael Flynn could be another thorn in the administration’s foot in a scandal that likely won’t go away and may never be resolved.
On Capitol Hill government ethics has turned to harassment and sexual misconduct. America wanted bipartisanship, now a scandal that’s causing problems for both parties is giving us what we asked for.
What is the Government Ethics category about?
The government ethics category is about what happens when political opportunity takes precedence over doing the right thing. From fake politics to outright thievery, as long as there is money and power to be had ethics will be an inconvenience best ignored.
Despite optimism from the House of Representatives we are never going to rid ourselves of the influence of big money in politics. In America big money is politics. No matter what we do to reform the campaign finance system little will change because there are too many ways to get the word out.
The Brits beat us to it. The United Kingdom announced its healthier drinking guidelines two years ago after the New Year’s holiday. It’s just a matter of time before our own safe drinking rules undergo an overhaul to fall in line with a growing neo-prohibition trend that parallels our acceptance of marijuana as America’s illegal favorite.