The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 1, 2013

In Response: The stimulus did work


In trying to kick start new technologies, some misfires are inevitable, even by “savvy” venture capitalists. Overall, fewer than 2 percent of companies funded by the Recovery Act failed. As for Solyndra, it was hardly a “flier:” It was first approved for loans by the Bush administration.

Jentges mentioned fraud and abuse in government programs as examples of something or other. The first thing to note is that by world standards, government at the federal level in America is remarkably corruption free, as are most state and local jurisdictions. No government entity has ever committed the level of fraud carried out by businesses like Enron and the Wall Street bankers, who stole trillions and caused 4 million homes to be wrongfully foreclosed.

Although government in the United States is mostly honest, the reverse — attempted fraud against the government — is widespread. Because of better controls, however, fraud attempts are less successful and entail more risk, as the Recovery Act shows.

Abuse is a different story. Everyone knows that money and power corrupt, and financial interests have thoroughly corrupted legislatures with their “campaign contributions.”

Fraud and abuse need to be eliminated and violators punished, but that is something only the government can do – provided it is not corrupted from inside, as it was by Dick Cheney’s neocon cabal.

Finally, despite government shortcomings, who is more likely to protect your interests? Wall Street scam artists, the environment-destroying Koch brothers, or the government?

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