The Fall of the House of ACORN
posted at 3:22 pm on September 25, 2009 by Doctor Zero
The disintegration of ACORN continues, with new allegations that the group was using donor money to enrich itself in a “reverse Robin Hood” scheme. This follows the astonishing undercover work of Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and its intrepid young reporters, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who videotaped some legally flexible “community organizing” from the group. Before Big Government nailed them on video, the group was infamous for pushing the legislation, and irresponsible lending, that caused the subprime crisis, and widespread vote fraud operations. ACORN is one of the few enemies of the American taxpayer that wasn’t invited to speak before the United Nations on Wednesday.
ACORN has decided to silence its critics by suing them. Hannah Giles has opened a legal defense fund. The Big Government web site reports a fund for O’Keefe is coming soon. If you’re a U.S. taxpayer, you’ve already donated to ACORN’s legal defense fund. ACORN has received at least $58 million of your tax dollars since 1994, and congressional Democrats tried to stuff billions in “stimulus” dollars into their pockets.
Direct tax funding is not the only way you’ve paid for ACORN, either. They generate a great deal of their income by shaking down businesses in political protection rackets, and the businesses naturally pass those costs along to their consumers. And, of course, ACORN was a big player in the subprime mortgage collapse, which left you on the hook for billions of dollars in bad mortgages. If you add all this up, you probably spent more on ACORN last year than you spent going to the movies. Hopefully you’re enjoying the show.
ACORN may be unique in its combination of staggering size, fabulous corruption, and low comedy, but they’re not the first corrupt “community” organization, and they won’t be the last. This kind of tumor is a naturally occurring symptom of the Big Government cancer.
One of the most important cultural changes engineered by the Left, during the years between the New Deal and Great Society, was the association of honest charity with shame. The growth of the State required the dependency class to view accepting charity as shameful, and demand government-funded “entitlements” instead. In reality, there is nothing at all demeaning about a person in need receiving aid that flows voluntarily from a generous heart. I work for a plucky little local charity, and I’m happy to report that no one involved feels as if their dignity is being compromised.
Naturally, many people who become dependent on charity will feel compelled to work their way out of it, as soon as possible. This impulse is often misunderstood as a form of pride, but it’s actually an aspect of humility. A humble person understands that he is not entitled to a limitless claim on the time and money of others. This is one reason why religious charities have a superb track record of helping people get back on their feet, and rehabilitating those with life-damaging problems, such as substance abuse. Humility is a deeper, and more enduring, source of strength than pride. Humility cannot be swallowed.
The transition from charity to entitlement was a crucial step in the construction of the total State. Its architects have little use for people who pull themselves out of dependency. The day will never come that an organization like ACORN declares a community sufficiently “organized,” and pulls up stakes to find another community to help. A government agency which dispenses entitlements views an increase in clients as a success, not a decrease. Entitlements are forever, and their recipients feel they have a moral right to demand them. Denial of such benefits, or even resistance to increasing them, becomes an outrage, perpetrated by class enemies. Big Government’s dependents don’t see themselves as using government power to rob the taxpayers – instead, they are righteously demanding benefits they are “owed,” and withholding these benefits is equivalent to robbing them. You could see this mindset on display, back when ACORN was angrily threatening to “occupy” houses under foreclosure.
When charity is replaced by entitlement, the voluntary flow of donations to small, local organizations transforms into the accumulation of stupendous amounts of money in Washington. Not only is there a huge pile of taxpayer loot to be divided, but the power of government is fantastically valuable. ACORN made a huge amount of money – and helped crash the entire financial system – by using government power to force banks into making risky loans to politically favored, but financially unqualified, borrowers. This kind of relationship sets up a loop of corruption between politicians and those who profit from using their power. A hefty percentage of ACORN’s loot flowed back to its political partners, in the form of campaign donations and votes – both legal and fraudulent.
The formation of these circuits of corruption is inevitable. When the State extracts titanic amounts of money from its citizens, groups like ACORN will always form to influence the disbursement. Votes and donations will always be the currency used to influence the politicians. When billions of dollars are at stake, millions can disappear into open pockets without raising much suspicion. The federal government could not pass even the most cursory audit, of the type it routinely inflicts on private corporations. Enough money has simply vanished from every one of Barack Obama’s titanic spending programs, from the “stimulus” to Cash for Clunkers, to make hundreds of well-connected people rich beyond belief.
As with so many aspects of public life, it all boils down to basic economics. The Left likes to rail against the laws of supply and demand, price and value… but it lives under them, as surely as Microsoft and Wal-Mart do. In a command economy, political power becomes the most valuable commodity, and it will find a way to be bought and sold. A vast dependency class produces a huge demand for benefits, which groups like ACORN exploit to influence politicians. The government has vast sums of taxpayer money to purchase votes. There is no regulatory agency, watchdog group, or police force large enough to prevent this transaction from occurring. ACORN may have clients in communities across the nation, but its biggest customers are in Washington. It’s fitting that ACORN’s demise is beginning with a prostitution sting, because it has often been said that prostitution is best fought by going after the demand side of the operation. If you want to shut down the pimps, go after the johns…. or, at least, take their bankrolls away.