We all know the Fortune 500, right? The magazine puts out a list each year of what it considers the 500 biggest corporations in America.
But have you heard about the Fortune Ten list, published in a recent issue? It’s a list of the ten most corrupt states in America.
This is based on a study by Hong Kong Indiana University researchers. It takes into account the number of convictions of public officials between 1976 and 2008.
The school is Indiana University’s Hong Kong branch, part of the Indiana State University system.
And don’t blame Fortune. It’s just reporting results.
Number one, Mississippi. Two is Louisiana, three is Tennessee. Four is Illinois. Five is Pennsylvania, six is Alabama, seven is Alaska, eight is South Dakota, nine is Kentucky and ten is Florida.
In seven of the ten states, Republicans control both houses of the state legislature and Democrats one. Only Kentucky has a legislature divided, Democratic in the lower house, Republican in the upper. Seven of the ten states have Republican governors.
They haven’t released figures. But the top ten lists is a huge chunk of your tax dollars in some politicians’ pockets… and the pockets of their friends in corporations.
Imagine. All but four of the states are in the south.
So… some trends. Spending levels are higher in the top ten. So is money spent on police, prisons, and the big one, construction.
Spending on education and social services trends lower than the rest of the country.
And in nine of the ten states, government spending is higher per capita than in the lower ranking states.
So what you have is a collection of essentially small government advocates lying about how they spend and on what.
Sweetheart deals, nepotism, no show jobs, pork and extensive publicity costs are a fact of life. But distorting the economy, self-enrichment and screwing the public shouldn’t be.
What’s surprising is that places like New Jersey, New York, Texas and Wisconsin didn’t make the cut.
Let’s defend the loathsome. The survey methodology combines a bunch of factors into an index. Who’s to say that’s set in stone?
We can say without fear of challenge that Philadelphia raises the ante for the rest of Pennsylvania and Chicago for Illinois. Maybe the index should be weighted to account for that.
What we can say is even if the criteria are iffy, even if the survey takers plain don’t like those states… this should be looked into … and not by the people who are most likely to have something to hide.
--Does Dick Cheney really expect anyone to believe the lies he’s telling about how Iraq was Obama’s problem and he blew it? The answer: yes, probably, he does. Check your mouth at the door, cowboy or we’re going to think that you think we are idiots.
--Like Nixon, George W. Bush has performed one and only one great act of domestic policy. He has pretty much kept his mouth shut. Nixon’s was to not challenge the results of the 1960 election, even though he had the right to.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please send comments including nasty notes about Bush and Cheney to firstname.lastname@example.org
© WJR 2014