Bribing our way to ethical goodness

Kari Smith has an interesting take on how we can prevent future Peter Orzags from jumping ship to go work at Citibank

One thing the low pay of senior public officials allows for is a pump-and-jump. Even in the most noble of circumstances smart folks will notice that they can get to the front of the line pretty fast in the low competition public sector, build an impressive resume and then jump ship to the private sector to make a load of cash.

Less noble would involve actively selling the benefits of one’s position to the highest bidder. What would stop people from doing this? The fear that they would be fired and thus loose out on a lucrative salary. However, with no lucrative salary there is little incentive not to do this.

That’s partially true. Public servants make pennies in comparison to the private finance boys and girls’ paychecks. However, another way to stop the bleeding is to regulate Washington’s ridiculous revolving door practices that allow the Great Minds who destroyed the economy to go work for the government, and further deregulate their industries, and then vice-versa (“Pulling an Orzag”).

It’s all well and good to try and bribe people into being good, but then you also need to send them to jail when they dynamite the world’s housing market.

And before they even commit those crimes, it’d be a good idea to discourage the jumping ship mentality by not allowing a single-year turnaround. Otherwise, any greedy fucker with a modicum of smarts knows what he or she must do in order to become uber-rich: 1) Go to work at Goldman Sachs, 2) Graciously accept a position as the President’s economic adviser 3) Deregulate like a motherfucker, 4) 12 months later, go to work for Goldman Sachs or Citibank 5) Roll around in your $500,000,000 cash bonus.

Sure, you can try to prevent the greedy fucker from leaving by paying them through the nose, but a better way of preventing this is by not letting the GF reap the rewards of gutting the government in the first place.

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