Many of the miscreants exposed in Netflix’s Dirty Money series take the “everyone else does it” defense. The misdeeds chronicled here underscore just how insidious and pervasive the grab for cash all around us is.
We Americans don’t like to think of our country as corrupt – or at least as corrupt as Japan, whose yakuza crime syndicates have taken over much of the legitimate business sector, including providing materials for the Fukushima nuclear reactor and scooping up homeless people to work as cleanup crews there. Of course we’re not like India, where things only get done with a bribe. And hopefully we’re not as bad as Russia, where this year’s Winter Games have been called “the most corrupt in Olympic history.”
Still, corruption sure feels pervasive here. Last year the people who run the banks, insurance companies and stock brokerages contributed $10 million to the legislators who sit on the House Financial Services Committee. That body makes the rules for the finance industry. Known as a “juice committee” because membership is so lucrative, House leaders added 61 more positions to the panel, because so many Congressmen wanted to sit on it.