Markets in Everything: Politicians

Prosecutors call it a corruption case with no parallel in the long
history of the U.S. Congress. And it keeps getting worse. Convicted
Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham actually priced the illegal services he

Prices came in the form of a "bribe menu" that detailed how much it
would cost contractors to essentially order multimillion-dollar
government contracts…the California Republican’s "bribery menu"… shows an escalating scale for bribes,
starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense
Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value
required a $50,000 bribe.

The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million.

What’s most disturbing about this is how low the prices were, $50,000 for $1 million in contract value.  Now let’s remember Econ 101, what makes prices low?  That’s right, competition.  So who was Cunningham competing with?


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