By USN Guest Columnist Chris Herrod / Feb 24, 2021
Over the past few weeks, some have stated that comments have been exceptionally harsh against Mitt Romney, but let me explain why I have so much disdain for Senator Mitt Romney. I admit it’s personal because he’s harmed a country I love and people around the world who I care about.
When I taught in Ukraine after the break of the Soviet Union over 25 years ago, I stressed to my students that as long as Ukraine had mafias, monopolies, and government corruption, that their country would never get the full benefit of a free-market economy. The most innovative and efficient businesses necessary to compete in the world wouldn’t rise to the top, rather the businesses that know how to work the system would dominate. Corruption is still not only a major problem in Ukraine, but for most poor nations around the world. Even though many of these nations have tremendous national resources as well as extremely intelligent people, corruption hinders the development of institutions that provide the stability necessary to succeed internationally. Businesses can’t plan long-term and are viewed as too risky for major capital investment. Political leaders lack a long-term vision and so steal while they can and give sweetheart deals to relatives and friends.
I saw this when I lived in the former Soviet Union. One of the times I was arrested, the police came to my work place. I was hauled off and given a “tour” of the police station. The police chief pointed out a new computer that one of their “sponsors” had recently given them . . . I hadn’t realized that police stations had “sponsors” just like I hadn’t realized that “voluntary” donations to the fireman fund weren’t really voluntary if one didn’t want to be shut down for fire code violations. Our native partner had forgotten to pay our protection money and after a call and promise to pay, I was released.
But all of society had these little quirks – some more consequential than others. I knew an American who had to pay $5000 a month to the Chechen Mafia for protection of his business. One month, he decided to stop paying. The next day, his BMW blew up. Needless to say, he started paying again, but the money could have been better used to invest in additional equipment, additional employees, and other normal business practices.
Almost any local market had bags of grain with the words, ‘USAID – not for resale.” Yet, the grain was for sale just like any other grain in the market. At the time, only 3% of the farms were private, yet they produced 40% of the food . . . that’s how ineffective the collective farms were (and yet people want to bring to the United states collective businesses, collective medicine, and strengthen our collective education here). When private farmers were asked what the #1 thing the United States could do to help long-term food security in Ukraine, the overwhelming answer was for America to stop sending free food. Private farmers would risk everything, borrow money from friends and family, only to have to compete against “free” food donated by foreign nations which inevitably ended up in the market.
In addition, private farmers had to contend with collective farm workers plowing up their fields right before harvest, thus destroying much of the crop. Such jealousy of success is just one of the inevitable ills that socialism/communism produce (but that too is an op ed for another day).
Twenty five years later, Ukraine is still mired in corruption although it was making some progress right before Trump’s first impeachment. If Hunter Biden, who made 100 times the average Ukranian monthly salary . . . 15 times the average U.S. monthly salary . . . doesn’t warrant a look into then what does? Mitt Romney sent Ukraine backwards and cemented corruption with his vote for impeachment because every mafia in Ukraine can now say, “take my bribe . . . don’t risk your life by opposing me . . . not even the U.S. cares about corruption.” This is one of the many reasons I have disdain for Senator Romney.
Just like the collective farmers, Mitt Romney was so jealous that President Trump could win the presidency and he couldn’t that he ignored the legitimacy of looking into Hunter Biden. Instead, Mitt used his vote to try to be relevant and to be liked by the press. Mitt seems to not care or is ignorant of struggles regular people face to make their countries better.
Mitt used the flimsy excuse that one can’t look into a political enemy which is an elitist argument because all one has to do is be in the political class and one is exempt from government oversight. This is not much different than corrupt leaders did in Russia when the Duma exempted themselves from being prosecuted for corruption. President Trump asked for no quid pro quo that Ukraine find Hunter guilty but simply asked that accusations of corruption which conservative press had been talking about for months were investigated. If U.S. leaders can’t do that, then they are neutered. Vice-President Biden bragged about his quid pro quo when he held up a billion dollars in aid until Ukraine fired the prosecutor who was looking into his son. This is the double standard that most American’s hate.
The Deseret News and mainstream media protected Mitt by failing to even mention Mitt’s conflict of interest detailed in the Federalist article about Romney’s connection to Burisma. Why does the Deseret News and the media continue to give Mitt a pass? Is the Deseret News a newspaper or a propaganda arm of the GOP establishment?
The rule of law is one of the greatest blessings and competitive advantages that the United States has over much of the world. If we lose it, which we are in danger of doing, we will be in trouble. Not only is it crucial for our survival, but one of the greatest gifts we can give to poorer nations.
(This is one of the many reasons that I have been against illegal immigration. Countless business owners have told me that they can’t compete with those who don’t play by the rules. By the time honest businesses pay workers comp, payroll taxes, they can’t win bids against those who cheat. Even if they have the best or most innovative product, they just can’t compete with those that use illegal labor. Neither can legal applicants of immigrants who often wait decades compete against those simply break the law.)
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