I found an article over on Townhall that made me think about this. The article doesn't focus on the under the table dealings of politicians, though it does mention them. The main point Goldberg is trying to make is that political corruption can be blatant, pernicious, and there for all to see and still not be stopped. It can even be applauded when the people do not understand the implications.
As you know, I can't leave a post well enough alone until I have a quote or two in it. Here are today's gems:
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to
govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be
necessary." -- James Madison, Federalist No. 51
"Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power.... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1799
I chose these two for one simple reason: they both highlight the need to remember that our government was not founded to help people. It was founded to protect the people from interference and allow them to help themselves. People forget the mindset that built our economy. Henry Ford best summed it up on February 11, 1934 when he said, "Let them fail; let everybody fail! I made my fortune when I had nothing to start with, by myself and my own ideas. Let other people do the same thing. If I lose everything in the collapse of our financial structure, I will start in at the beginning and build it up again."
Edit: The Washington Post published something similar.