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Jesse Jackson, Jr., Fraudster

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Guilty. That’s what Jesse Jackson, Jr., former congressman, pleaded in court yesterday.

Fraud. That’s the name of his crime, though it was a particular kind of fraud, the taking of campaign contributions for personal use.

Partnered. The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s famous son was not alone, nor did he merely “fall into” crime out of lax record-keeping. His wife was also involved in the pattern of embezzlement and tax fraud, and the level of their misappropriations was not trifling.

Sandra Jackson admitted to not reporting $600,000 of income, and the couple confessed to using re-election campaign funds to

  • buy a gold-plated Rolex for more than $40,000;
  • purchase $5,000 worth of fur capes and parkas;
  • over $9,000 worth of children’s furniture.

This is corruption, the most obvious kind to which a democratic republic is susceptible.

It is only made more frequent and more expensive in our modern times by the enormous power a congressman can hold over Washington’s tossing about of billions and trillions of dollars.

Who even notices the millions?

Jesse Jackson, Jr., isn’t alone in wanting a piece of the Washington action. Nor is he alone in thinking about himself first, and . . . well, not having time to think about anything second.

I’ve even seen this happen to minor-party candidates. It’s too easy to see a political campaign as about the candidate and not the principles — about personal advancement, not representation.

We’ll never have perfect people in public office, but we can do a whole lot better. And it’s good to see the guilty caught and prosecuted.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Got Jobs?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

New jobs come from entrepreneurial insight into new ways of profitably producing goods; they are paid for with investments. After a bust, old ratios of prices and wages cease to work, requiring time for entrepreneurs to refigure. But capitalism’s basic scenario — savings, investment, productivity gains, trades — still applies.

Some folks prefer to short-circuit all this, simply robbing Peter to create a job for Paul.

They’re known as politicians.

President Obama proposes spending an additional $447 billion to create jobs, even though our economy is already gummed up with debilitating debt. The Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell argues that taking money from the economy’s right pocket (taxes) and putting it in the left pocket (spending) doesn’t create economic growth or long-term employment, but, for those who happen “to be sitting in the left pocket . . . [i.e.], a state or local politician that’s getting money from the so-called stimulus,” they think “it’s a good thing.”

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Illinois) says that the “only way out” of our current mess is to offer every one of the 15 million unemployed Americans a $40,000-a-year job . . . with the federal government.

Most Republican presidential candidates pitch their (quite mythical) job-creating skills, too.

The Republican presidential candidate banned by the national news media — no, not Ron Paul, the other one, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson — put it best. “The fact is,” he said at the only debate he was allowed to appear in, “I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.