It's official: Charlie Rangel is a crook. A liar. And a tax cheat.
The guilty finding by a bipartisan group of his peers lays to rest any illusion the flimflam man's disgraceful conduct was an aberration or mere sloppiness. The case revealed a decades-long pattern of willful deceit and intentional evasion.
In a better world, we would be bidding him good riddance. He would be expelled from Congress, and a federal prosecutor would be waiting at the door, ready to pounce on the ton of evidence that convicted him. A grand jury would be going through the bank accounts bulging with cash, the sources of which remain suspiciously unclear.
In that better world, his colleagues, shocked and embarrassed by how he flaunted his violations of tax laws and ethics rules, would immediately tighten the screws and increase the penalties. They would denounce him from the floor, ashamed to have accepted his friendship and favors.
They would call for a vote on term limits, conceding that permanent incumbency magnifies the corruption of power. Rangel, after all, was just elected to his 21st term, and men and women of goodwill would proudly shout "aye" to eliminate the temptations that pile up in a job for life.
Of course, that's not the world we live in. What justice we have in this one is too often corrupted by a double standard, one for the public and one for our government masters.
Any ordinary American who scammed the IRS the way Rangel did would be socked with fines and probably jail. Any private worker who cheated his employer the way Rangel cheated taxpayers would get fired and arrested.
Rangel will most likely get a letter of reprimand. Tsk, tsk.
And where are the prosecutors? Quaking in their hideaways, afraid to take on someone so big. Cowards all.
Try a little experiment. Walk into a government building -- a courthouse, motor vehicles, unemployment -- and take note of how you, the taxpayer, are treated. My experience is that it quickly becomes clear who is working for whom.
Most government workers don't believe they work for you or me. They know we work for them. Public servants? Grow up, sucker.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.