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LETTER: Public service vs. personal enrichment

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

Lately I have been paying more attention to the corruption that seems to be endemic in dictatorial politics.

This practice has long been the purview of Third World economies, where economic aid regularly makes its way into the Swiss bank accounts of the ruling class.

However, over the past few decades, the practice of stealing from the state has been exposed in the Russian and Chinese governments, and it is not unusual to read of the heads of governments, where politics is by definition opaque, regularly dipping their greedy hands into taxpayer funds.
In these countries, the objective is clear — personal enrichment. Which brings me to my point. In Western democracies, the objective is not direct personal enrichment — though personal enrichment through influence in post-retirement careers is the subject of another letter — but the enrichment of friends and colleagues through lucrative appointments.

How this is not universally viewed as the same type of behaviour as that of tin pot dictators is beyond me. In my view, just because the enrichment does not go to the head of the government, makes it no less a misuse of taxpayers’ money.

We, the long-suffering taxpayer, constantly watch our hard-earned money (the emphasis here being on earned) fly into pockets through unearned appointments.

The media calls it pork-barrelling, which is a polite word for what it is, and is no less an egregious practice as what is practised in places like Russia and Zimbabwe.

It’s time politicians were called out whenever an uncontested political appointment is made that involves taxpayer money.

Barry Imhoff
St. John’s


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