In every U.S. state but one, prostitution is a big no-no. However, as in many other professions, there is a strict hierarchy ranging from the vendors dismissedly called "two-bit" to the millionaire entrepreneurs like madam Heidi Fleiss, whose black book was the talk of Washington for a week or two until something jucier came along.
Most Americans come down hard on the lower classes of the round-heeled brigade and slightly less hard on the higher ones. Enablers of the prostitutes, called "managers" in the high class and "pimps" in the low, generally make out very well and, especially in the former, usually don't pay any penalties. However, the most remarkable group is the patron, called "Johns" in the lower class and "clients" in the upper. They usually get away completely.
So what does all this have to do with my favorite topic, economics, or its closest cousin, politics? Well, quite a bit, actually. Why? Because we have arrived at the point where our political structure is designed very closely to align with that of the World's Oldest Profession. Take the Congress, for example. Tune in to C-SPAN on any given day and count the number of congresspersons in their seats. The last time I did this, I found nine. The House of Representatives looked like Radio City Music Hall on cleaning day. One could ask where the people's representatives were. According to numerous interviews, they were probably on the phone raising money. It's estimated that fully two-thirds of the time of a member of Congress is spent scrounging dough. This may account for some of the votes we see on the few occasions when they're not calling each other names.
The donors to the Congress are, in most cases, lobbyists representing industries that stand to gain from particular pieces of legislation. These are the clients. They used to spend large sums wining and dining the politicos and also freely gave the limit the law allowed to help the in next election campaign. Enter the enablers. Thanks to the defenders of Strict Constitutional interpretation, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts along with part-time defender Anthony Kennedy, the gloves were removed and the Johns - pardon me, clients - could shovel in as much cash as they wanted. Sort of like removing the price ceiling on the highest-paid call girls. The judicial enablers, having put the government up for sale to the highest bidders, got back to work on really important things like gay marriage and smoking marijuana.
What makes this comparison especially odious is the reaction of the people. Vox Populi. In the same way we blame the whores instead of the Johns, we blame the Congress instead of the lobbyists. All someone has to do is listen to any right-wing station and get a diatribe about the evils of government, especially when it comes to regulation against practices that damage people or cost corporations money. You'd have to listen for a few days before you'd hear a word against the corporations that are buying the government. Excuse me, the corporations WHO are buying the government. You see, the enablers have also decided the corporations are people. Mitt Romney said so. These "people" can now call themselves what they are - Johns.
So we don't blame the Johns and we don't blame the pimps. We blame the prostitutes. It doesn't seem to occur to us that without the unlimited flow of money from the lobbyists and the "special interests," they'd go out of business and have to earn their money some other way - like working for the best interests of the country. Count the number of bills disciplining the Congress by cutting funds for education, health care and consumer protection and then count the number curbing the influence of lobbyists. No wonder our new national motto is "Money Talks." It sure tells a lot more about our priorities than "e pluribus unum" or "In God We Trust."
In the middle of this political campaign, it's also notable that nobody, with the possible exception of Ron Paul (who himself has been on the receiving end of corporate money), has said anything about cutting the hose that supplies the financial fountain of influence that steers the destiny of what once was a bastion of individualism and innovation. Again, as I said in my last diary, the forces of corpocracy are dismantling our country and we're not doing a damn thing about it. It may be because we won't and it may be because we can't.