The Issue of Government Accountability and Corruption
The issue of government accountability and the plague of corruption are issues that should make citizens lose sleep at night. In a world where transparency, integrity, and answerability are key issues that politicians and other government officials in numerous positions are very vocal about, it is paradoxical that government accountability in different nations continues to wane. The issue of corruption in the government is age-old and, in fact, over the years, it has developed to become integrated within the systems, processes, resources, and of course, individuals that comprise the government.
Government corruption refers to the abuse of office, power, and resources by government officials with the aim of personal gain through unethical means such as solicitation or offer of bribes as well as extortion. However, the creativity of government officials in engaging in corruption over the years has resulted in the term accommodating other vices such as trading in influence, cronyism and nepotism, electoral fraud, and embezzlement of funds among many others.
Government Corruption in the United States
The United States has seen a significant increase in government corruption over the last few years. As such, organizations such as Transparency International, which monitor the state and level of corruption in different nations, are having a field day exposing the growing infection. Studies carried out in 2017 reveal that at least sixty percent of American citizens believe that America has become more corrupt in recent years and is less accountable than it was in 2016 (Transparency International). Similarly, at least 45 percent of the American population believes that the White House is among the most corrupt government institutions in the nation (Transparency International).
Examples of Corruption in the US Government
Evidently, the opinion by Americans that their government has become more corrupt in recent years can be backed with sufficient and justifiable proof. For instance, the conviction of Paul Manafort, President Trump's campaign chair, on charges of bank fraud, as well as falsification of tax returns in 2016, took place on August 2018 (Chervinsky). In addition, Tom Price, former Health and Human Services Secretary, had to resign in September 2017 when it was revealed that he had spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' funds on personal flights. Former CDC Director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, also had to resign in January 2018 after it became known that she had bought securities in tobacco, one of the leading causes of death in the nation (Chervinsky). This is simply the tip of the iceberg, as many other officials are involved in scandals, and in fact, very few find themselves in the snare of graft investigations.
The Need to Address Government Corruption
Surely, if the focal point of the American federal government is this corrupt, it is safe to assume that the rest of the government at the federal, state, and local levels is just as corrupt or worse. This is especially the case given the nature and complexity of the phenomenon, which makes it challenging to estimate the extent of the global issue with accuracy. There is a need to address the problem of government corruption not only in the United States but also in other nations around the world. Of course, numerous opinions and strategies have been used in the past and continue to be used in order to fight the ugly beast that continues to rear its head. In addition to the use of the current methods applicable today, most of which operate based on the whistleblower concept, I believe there is a need to openly shame government officers that are caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Shaming of officials should involve actual humiliation and embarrassment of officers for the public to see. In addition, an example must be made of persons in positions of authority that engage in corruption. To vanquish corruption within the government entirely, taking back all the wealth and assets of corrupt government officers, based on the assumption that they gained it unethically, can transform the landscape of the US government (Wiebelhaus-Brahm).
Seeking Alternative Methods to Reduce Corruption
The growing corruption in the US government and the prevalence of the phenomenon around the world are justifications for the need to seek alternative methods of reducing the blatant theft and abuse of power that some government officials have been orchestrating. Given the difficulty of identifying and confirming scandals in the government, the above unconventional strategies can reduce corruption levels drastically if put to good use. This way, rather than progressing on the current path of making the US a country of thieves, the blemish of corruption can be erased entirely from the government.
Chervinsky, L.M. "Trump’s Administration is still full of scandals. History shows he may regret that." Washington Post
14 August 2018. .
Transparency International. Corruption in the USA: the Difference a Year Makes. December 2017. .
Wiebelhaus-Brahm, Eric. "Promoting Accountability, Undermining Peace? Naming and Shaming in Transitional Justice Processes." The Politics of Leverage in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015. 86-102.