The good news about the corruption coming to light in Washington is that voters can see it for what it is. More pernicious, because it's clothed in apparent legitimacy, is the everyday corruption that exists at all levels of government. For example:
Federal, state and local officials hand out lucrative contracts to connected companies that know how to show their gratitude without violating the letter of any laws. It's called "pay to play" and wastes untold billions of taxpayer dollars.
City and state officials "negotiate" lavish pension and other benefits with their largest financial supporters, the public-employee unions. No laws are broken, but cities and states are left with unsustainable obligations that never would have been agreed to had the parties been dealing at arm's length, like private-sector employers and unions.
Like many Illinois politicians, the powerful majority leader of the Illinois state legislature also has a lucrative "law practice" in Chicago, a city his party controls. He gets miraculous results for clients in zoning and property tax matters in return for "legal fees," which have made him rich.
Dollar-wise, this type of corruption dwarfs the straightforward, hand-in-the-cookie-jar type of corruption, which is peanuts by comparison. But it flies below the radar and is part of the fabric of government at all levels, and the more government grows, the more of our scarce resources it consumes .
Hilton Head Island