So, when I was a kid, I remember hearing about one of my dad's high school friends who ended up one of the richest people in town. He had struck a relationship with the local banker, who had financed him buying up large chunks of land in a mostly rural area outside Kansas City. He and a couple of other investors got themselves elected to the local town council. With their influence they were able to defer most of the city service expenses by floating bonds, allowing them to keep local taxes very low. They were also able to ensure that local regulations were friendly to development. They created a perfect storm for their prospective plans. They then proceeded to, essentially, build the suburb of Blue Springs, Missouri - most of which they owned. Once their subdivision development plans were well underway, they began ratcheting up taxes and regulating away opportunities for their competition. By the time they cashed out, the city taxes were inline with most of the other suburbs, and the local building boom was over. And they were very, very rich. Many years later, I was living in the college town of Lawrence, Kansas. The town had just passed a "moratorium" on new liquor licenses for bars. One day I got to talking to a local who was on the county commission. He explained to me what was going on. A property investment group that owned most of the bars in town had managed to get several of its principal investors elected to the county commission. Conveniently, they'd passed the new rules, severely limiting the possibility of any new bars opening in town. While I stand by the veracity of these stories, they're just anecdotes. But I wonder how much of the wealth 'generated' in this country is funneled by similar means. The ability to control regulation is the power to control who makes money and who doesn't. Is it any surprise people use it to enrich themselves?