The Revolving Door

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A topic in the recent course readings that created a stir of emotions for me was in Turse's chapters one and two.  In chapter one, Turse began to talk about the "revolving door" and listed statistics and individuals that engage in the corrupt practice.  The thing that bothers me most about the "revolving door" is that it makes me question our own government.  I begin to wonder whether or not I can trust what they are doing and telling the citizens.  The "revolving door" is a difficult topic to deal with, but I think there has to be a way the people and government can get honest, reliable expertise from an industry to make informed decisions.

 

The "revolving door" is a concept used to describe the cycle of employees between an industry and the positions in the government that directly affect that industry.  It is a clear example of corruption in Washington.  Turse describes the multiple career changes of Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge Jr. who left a multimillion dollar corporation to become the undersecretary of defense in the Pentagon.  While in the Pentagon, Aldridge granted multiple expensive contracts only to retire from the Pentagon and be elected to Lockheed Martin's board of directors with a six-figure compensation and company stock.  The fact is, Aldridge has been using the "revolving door" since the 1960s.  Turse also mentions the results of a report that said "between January 1997 and May 2004, at least 224 senior government officials had taken top positions with the twenty largest military contractors."  These actions and numbers anger me, because it only reinforces my ideas that power and greed are becoming a great danger to our society.  Are our government officials doing their best to make the choices and decisions that benefit the people?  The use of the "revolving door" is making me question the overall intentions of government officials.


On the other hand, the "revolving door" does have a few benefits.  For example, there does need to be individuals from the industry in order to make informed decisions, because without them, a decision could be made that drastically changes our way of life somehow.  Also, the "revolving door" provides a flow of different opinions.  Since some officials have had many experiences, they are able to bring about viewpoints that may not have been known to other officials.

 

I feel that by using the "revolving door," our government officials are betraying our (the people's) trust in them; they are not doing their job; they are using their power to benefit themselves, and I, most certainly, do not think that is fair or right.  I also feel that the public is not entirely aware of these actions, because if they were, there would be much more public outrage.  It is a difficult topic to control, but there must be something that someone can do in order counter the corruption.  Currently, there is a law that says a government official who makes contracting decisions must wait one year before joining a military contractor or must start in an affiliate or division unrelated to their government work.   This law is a start to preventing the use of the "revolving door."  It is very important that government officials and policy makers understand the costs, benefits, and results of their decisions, and they will be unable to make informed decisions if they are not informed themselves.  The larger problem lies in the fact that high-level policy makers can join corporations or their boards without waiting, and this is where the corruption happens and the big bucks are made.  There are many government officials that do a fantastic job, but there are also a few bad apples that make me question the intent of mankind and whether our system does an adequate job of controlling "revolving door." 

 

Lisa Breuninger


4 Comments

Through this class I have been exposed to many truths about my world, daily life, and government that is unsettling. Sometimes, like when I’m scrubbing my stainless steel pan, I almost wish I wouldn't have known about the harm that can be caused by Teflon. This way I could go about my day with my head in the clouds and not realize the harm that comes with so many of our new conveniences.
I feel the same way when it comes to our government, isn't voting for the Presidential candidate with the best smile enough? When we look into the corruption that plagues our political system it is sickening to see what has been done with our tax dollars. Exuberantly priced fighter jets just so the government can keep the arms manufactures happy, and the wrongs that can't be righted i.e. war with Iraq, due to a selfish political agenda. This class has illuminated so many things that can and should be changed, which I am thankful for.
As our founding father Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
And that’s why it is so important to keep ourselves informed and be aware of what is really going on.
Lyndsie Kaehler

I agree with Lyndsie that this class has opened my eyes to many "hidden truths". I find it very shocking to learn that many products we use everyday have the ability to cause so much damage that they can alter our endocrine systems. This class has taught me to be skeptical about new scientific discoveries and to try to search for the truth. At the same time I think its important to remember that there is a difference between having a healthy level of skepticism and also living your life in fear of the possibility of the negative negative side effects of every new technology and development.

As I read this blog I am reminded of the Food Inc. movie we watched in class. The movie touched on a similar subject of how agriculturally related government jobs are going to people from large agricultural companies like Monsanto. I think a further problem of government jobs is the people who are landing them. I think we have to really consider the person who's running's past occupations. If we elect a person who has ties with a large swine corporation we can expect him to help the swine industry. I think in some ways we are lucky that we have a "revolving door" because one person cannot make a huge impact on society but at the same time it doesn't help us at all because one person can't make an impact. The system seems somewhat flawed, but I don't know if there is a better way to correct it.

I think that our government is corrupt and that people should be more critical of its decisions. The "revolving door" concept is a large reason of this. I think that government officials that have left billion dollar corporations have only done so to help their careers and haven't done so to benefit society. I also agree that it does have benefits with quicker policy making and decision making.

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This page contains a single entry by breu0060 published on October 19, 2009 10:16 PM.

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