The secret is out; it turns out that there is a lot of money in politics these days, and it might not be producing the best results for everyone. In fact, unless the issues that matter to you just so happen to align with the issues that matter to lobbyists and their clients, then you are almost certainly not being well served by your government.
A Gallup poll from June 2013 shows that a vast majority of Americans -nearly 80%- support the idea of limiting the amount that politicians can raise and spend on campaigns, and this support cuts across all partisan lines. Given that most politicians would engage in a whole host of unsavory activities to be associated with these kind of numbers, what has kept our current “Of the money, by the money, and for the money” system in place?
As discussed in a few related blog posts, “quid pro quo” corruption -the bags stuffed with money type of corruption- has almost exclusively been rendered obsolete, and maybe even a little quaint. We now have a campaign contribution system that allows for a wide range of options to get your big dollars to your favorite purchasable politician. Super PACS! Bundling! Corporations are people! No limit on overall campaign donations within an election cycle! If you are a successful hedge fund manager, casino magnate, or heiress to some small ketchup fortune, then our current political system offers you a veritable buffet of democracy.
What about the rest of us? Should we just accept our lot, hang our heads, and disengage?
The correct answer here is a resounding “NO!”; ideally, stated while incorporating some type of fist pump…
There are solutions to this problem. No one solution will work, but if enough people are willing to work hard and be inspiring and innovative, then there is a chance we get our democracy back. Read through some of the other posts here on Rethinking Prosperity to find out more about some of these solutions.
One such solution would be the passage of The American Anti-Corruption Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that was
“crafted by former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter in consultation with dozens of strategists, democracy reform leaders and constitutional attorneys from across the political spectrum. The Act would transform how elections are financed, how lobbyists influence politics, and how political money is disclosed. It’s a sweeping proposal that would reshape the rules of American politics, and restore ordinary Americans as the most important stakeholders instead of major donors. The Act enjoys support from progressives and conservatives alike.”
One of the groups that is pushing for the implementation of The American Anti-Corruption Act is Us, a nonpartisan organization that boasts nearly a half-million members all committed to the idea of comprehensive political reform that puts the government back to work for everyone. They have a proposed a reasonable and achievable set of goals to help make this happen, and anyone can (and should!) help Us help us.
Other groups such as Us are springing into existence all over the country right now because people care and they want their government back.
Solutions exist. Work has to be done.
Or we get something like this: