While puttering in my garden, I discovered a long forgotten empty terracotta pot that I had overturned and used as a base for a planter. As it was tidy up time, I decided to dismantle the planter and I turned the pot over. Swarming the inside of this pretty flower pot was the creepiest menagerie of bugs I had ever seen. In this the darkest place in my lovely garden, a ghastly collection of creepy things had installed themselves without my knowledge. Once my anxiety subsided, I grabbed the garden hose, but before I could administer a forceful spray, the creepy things had scurried away. They couldn't handle the bright light of day. I sprayed the pot anyway. Then, it occurred to me. Creepy things like dark places. The same is true in Government. Especially as it relates to money and government.
Those who would abuse the monetary system to the detriment of citizens are for the most part, quite fond of dark places. Government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and others, provide the perfect dark place. In a typical Government contract, bidding is required. "Sunshine Laws" insure that all decisions are made in daylight. GSEs are permitted to award contracts on any basis they choose. Usually politics greatly outweigh the public interest. The GSEs are simply used for achieving political ends. They are run by political supporters who are beholden to those who appointed them. GSEs enjoy benefits that are nearly unknown in the private sector. They do not pay license fees or taxes. They are exempt from the red tape that stagnates private business. They ignore local zoning and building ordinances. They are exempt from antitrust laws. Most importantly, they are allowed their deliberations in absolute secrecy. In most instances they are not even subject to a cursory legislative review.
After operating expenses have been paid, the excess revenue in a GSE is held internally and may be used by management for any purpose it deems useful. These expenditures are exempt from public scrutiny. Commercial banks purchase GSE bonds at a steep discount and then resell them to private investors and institutions. Unlike regular government entities, GSEs may issue the bonds with any bank they choose. On all contracts let out by a GSE, competitive bidding is not a requirement. It is virtually impossible to gauge the total amount of this spending. But one thing is certain, if things had to be done in daylight, there would be less abuse. GSE activities should be monitored and open, but this business hybrid is not subject to regulatory scrutiny. Remember, GSEs are the ultimate secret control corporation. They receive favorable treatment and special benefits under charters granted by the Congress. Let us retake these quasi public agencies and make them beholden to the people, not the people's servants. It is time to eliminate these dark places in Government, and let in the sunshine. Daylight, the bane of creepy things, will sterilize this unseemly process.