It’s easier to look at the symptom: corruption, than treat the disease: government over-regulation:
The unsung and highly specialized role these private individuals play in the workings of city government gained notoriety last week when investigators revealed that for the last year, an expediter had been secretly recording conversations to help build an ongoing bribery case that so far has led to federal charges against 15 people.
Expediters have multiplied and become fixtures at City Hall in recent years. During the height of the building boom a few years ago, the permit process stretched for many months, creating a cottage industry of people offering their expertise in the byzantine ways of the city’s zoning and building codes.
These expediters will be made out as the bad guys, though most serve a valuable roll: wait in line, deal with city staff and other menial things professionals don’t want to waste valuable time doing. These guys are not squeaky clean – many expediters are people you wouldn’t want your daughter dating, but dig deeper to find the real bad guys: the bureaucrats who thrive on bad bureaucracy. The harder it is to do your business, the more it’s worth to hire someone to “expedite” the approval process. They get their kickbacks, campaign contributions, and SkyBox tickets just because they are not competent enough to get the job done quickly, and/or aren’t properly funded to do the job properly. Meanwhile, important projects are delayed, investment capital sits idle, materials wait in a warehouse, and people wait for their homes, offices, or stores to be built. Dig deeper below the surface, and you’ll see the whole crooked system of patronage, political contributions, payoffs, and deal-making fueled by government regulation, lobbying, and machine-building.