Last night, my children, who are studying Africa, watched a video about the Congo. During the segment dealing with decolonialization, one of the talking heads mentioned how President Mobutu was effective as a leader, but ineffective as an economist. When the price of copper collapsed, so did Congo’s (by then, Zaire’s) economy. The talking head said that Mobutu had only the knowledge of a tribal chief: he gave gifts in exchange for support. To pay for the gifts, he had to shake down everyone doing business, or trying to do business, in Congo.
Not like the people who run our sturdy, 233-year old republic. Not hardly.
Consider this story about a study being done at George Mason university:
Report: Democratic Districts Received Nearly Twice the Amount of Stimulus Funds as GOP districts.
True, to the unsophisticated, that story may have a bit of a whiff of Mobutu’s Zaire about it. But the difference couldn’t be more clear. You see, Mobutu shook down real businesses and got real money. The stimulus money is all borrowed. Apples and oranges.
And, while I’m in a sour mood about our nation’s devoted public servants, there is this piece in the Wall Street Journal about congressional junketeering. I especially liked the graph, way down in the story, showing a slow but determined rise in spending through the ’90s, followed by a meteoric rise this decade.