A new study on corruption reveals what happens when government has too much power. There is no better laboratory for finding out than the island of Puerto Rico.

A new academic study titled “Project on the Misuse of Government Resources” offers a picture of deeply ingrained corruption to the point that businesses routinely create a budget line item for pay-offs to government officials. Offering bribes is the only way to stay competitive and get government contracts. As so much of the economy necessarily touches government there, corruption is the bread and butter of business activity.

According to the study, forty six percent (46%) of business men interviewed  see a “mid to high level of corruption” in their particular industry. Twenty three percent (23%) admit to have a budget line item for “gifts” to public sector executives and functionaries and thirty percent (30%) see as an obligation of business to offer campaign contributions. Sixty six percent (66%) of those interviewed see the problem getting worse. Only 12% thought that corruption is diminishing.

The Puerto Rican microcosm is destiny for us if the state continues to eat out more and more of civil society. Now, our Supreme Court tells us that it is perfectly fine if politicians lie to us to get a mammoth tax approved as long as the judges decide that it is indeed a tax. The more government is empowered, the more the private sector will succumb to the lure of benefit in corruption.

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