Time Essay: Corruption in the U.S.: Do They All Do It?

As Americans take leave of an extraordinary year, they can recall endless days when the front pages of their daily newspapers seemed to suggest that everything — and everyone — is corrupt.

And the stories were not just about Watergate and all that. Like a steady drip-drip, they told of big companies caught paying bribes, of little fellows paying kickbacks, merchandise failing to support the promise of its labels, employees defrauding their bosses, physicians involved in accident-insurance swindles, 300 indictments in 20 cities in poverty-housing scandals, developers paying off zoning commissions, policemen on...

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