A while back, I told one of my brothers that I often have the feeling this country is being run by racketeers.

“I don’t have that feeling,” he said. “I KNOW it’s run by racketeers.”

I suspect that, if the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act were ever fully enforced, most of the government and much of American big business would be in jail. I’ve concluded some rackets are legal, depending on who benefits from them.

As an example, I wonder what the real purpose of the Defense Department is. Its stated purpose is to defend our nation from our enemies, but I get the impression its real purpose is to put as much taxpayer money into the hands of defense contractors as possible. That’s the reason we have so many expensive weapons systems whose worth is questionable. Meanwhile, our troops in the field often have to live on subsistence wages and later find themselves having to fight for the benefits they were promised.

Public housing and “urban renewal” were also a racket. Public housing wasn’t meant to serve the poor. It was meant to put taxpayer money into the pockets of developers and construction companies and create jobs for bureaucrats. It was designed to discourage people from trying to better themselves so they’d stay in the system and the bureaucrats could justify their jobs. If someone suggested there might be a better way, the bureaucrats would say these terrible people wanted to throw poor people out of their homes.

The health care system in this country has become a racket. It’s more now about making money for insurance companies, big pharma and big medical. That’s why everything is so much more expensive in the United States than it is in other countries.

I was recently told by my insurance company that I had to buy my prescriptions from a certain pharmacy chain or pay full price. Guess who owns the insurance company? That’s right, the pharmacy chain! They call themselves a “family of health care companies.” They’re more like the Gambino family, if you ask me.

Our health care providers put Algodones, Mexico on the map!

The banks have also become a racket. They never saw a fee or a service charge they didn’t like. If the bank makes a mistake, good luck calling customer service!

Let’s not forget the “guilt” racket. They make you feel guilty about something or anything. Of course, the only way to deal with your guilt is to send them money.

“High Tech” is another racket. It seems like the tech companies are always coming out with new apps or gadgets and charging more and more for them. Of course, they make sure to rig things so you have to buy them whether you want them or not. They often appear to be in cahoots with banks and other institutions to force you to buy their products or be cut off.

I did a cartoon about that a while back. I called it an honest ad for high tech. I showed a stereotypical gangster in a Fedora hat saying, “Youse gonna buy all dese apps and stuff, or we make sure your computer don’ woik no more!”

Tony Soprano never had it so good.

Congress and the government are the biggest racket of them all. Look at how many career politicians became rich in politics. Harry S. Truman once said, “Show me a man who got rich in politics and I’ll show you a crook.”

Maybe they all sold Amway.

As I said, some rackets are legal, while others aren’t. If you deal cocaine, your racket is illegal. On the other hand, if you’re CEO of a large bank that cheats its customers, your racket is legal.

Maybe that’s one of the reason why Americans are so angry. We’re tired of not just being lied to, but being ripped off and taken advantage of as well. It seems like there are no institutions that are worthy of our trust. They all seem to have their hands in our pockets and knives aimed at our backs.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. What I do know is nothing will change unless people raise a fuss. Unless people complain very loudly and demand accountability, nothing will change. Things will change only when the racketeers realize they stand to lose more by not changing.

This may also mean voting out every incumbent in public office at the state and federal level. The people who caused all the problems and profited from them aren’t going to change things as long as they’re in power.

At least the Mafia is honest about it and admits they’re crooks. It would be nice if the “legal” racketeers did the same thing. Don’t expect them to be honest, though. They haven’t been so far, and it’s doubtful they ever will be.

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(2) comments

sam whittemore

we deserve , and get, what we put up with. say la vee FUSA!

PaulT

When good people don't speak up when he or she sees that something is not right. Carry on speaking up!

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