How can it be that most of our politicians believe the following:
– That Wall Street so-called banks deserved a federal bailout when they were largely responsible for causing the economic collapse of the United States, and despite the fact that after bank “reform” the Wall Street banks are bigger than ever.
– That the United States needs to keep spending more on its war machine than all of the other countries on earth combined, and that we somehow need to be in a state of perpetual unfunded war?
– That Congress passed “health care reform” that forces Americans to purchase coverage from monopolistic for-profit corporations, instead of passing some form of single payer coverage, which is overwhelmingly preferred by Americans.
– That private money political campaigns and an over-consolidated for-profit media pre-choosing candidates is a good thing.
– That they shouldn’t repeal the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The answer is lots of money. When it is handed to politicians in large wads, it makes them vote in ways that keeps the money coming, regardless of what they claim. Here’s the inner logic from a politician’s viewpoint: “How would I keep my job if I didn’t keep the money rolling in by voting for corporate interests even when those votes conflict with the interests of ordinary citizens.”
I agree with Dylan Ratigan that our politicians can’t have any meaningful conversations, and can’t make rational decisions, given the amount of private money in politics. The money they receive turns virtually all of them into psychopaths. Getting private money out of politics has become the most important issue of them all, because it keeps us from rationally discussing every other issue. How could we possibly get private money out of politics? The politicians won’t do it, because it is like crack cocaine to them.
Dylan Ratigan has proposed the following as an Amendment to the United States Constitution to get money out of politics, effectively reversing Citizen’s United in the process:
No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office.
How would this Amendment work in the real world? I’m not certain, because I just saw this proposed Amendment today. I suspect that the plan is that the politicians would, under this Amendment, run their campaigns based on public money or based on appearances at public forums at which they would share their ideas. Perhaps free television and radio time would be part of the mix–after all, the people of the United States own the airwaves, and TV and radio stations merely have the right to use them. I think that that the blunt amendment proposed by Ratigan is the right approach, though I need to consider it further.
What follows is text from a mass emailing I received today from Dylan Ratigan:
Money has bought our politics. Only we the people can take it back. But, HOW?
I have asked a professional lobbyist and a series of Constitutional scholars. They tell me that it will require a large, unrelenting, organized group aligned around a Constitutional Amendment to Get Money Out of politics.
Our goal is to get a large, unrelenting, organized group to sign on to a petition asking our politicians to ban money in politics. If we can get it big enough, we can use my show on MSNBC as a platform to force this issue to the center of next year’s Presidential debate. Without you I am just a talking head. With you we are 100,000 American s for Justice.
All of us know the problem, in our gut. I exploded this summer, in a “mad as hell” moment that went viral on the internet. You responded, but you too are Mad as Hell. But we also know that anger and logic are only useful if we turn our collective energy into positive action.
Our politicians know the problem, too. But they aren’t going to fix the problem because if one of them forfeits money, the others will quickly find that person easy to beat. Instead, all of them must be forced to disarm at the same time. That will only happen if we the people, a large unrelenting, organized group, tell the politicians to Get Money Out.
There are serious legal questions around any Constitutional amendment. What will it do? How extensive can it be? My own sense is that the strongest amendments are a few paragraphs and lay out a simple and strong set of principles. I’ve asked Jimmy Williams, a frequent guest on my show and an experienced lobbyist, to come up with draft text. He’s a lobbyist who has become as disgusted as we are at the fetid stench coming from DC, and he knows as well as anyone how corrupting money can be in our politics. He’s been there.
But the legal questions are frankly small. More importantly, how do we make this happen? I believe we can make this happen by forming an army of Americans who want to get money out, and putting that front and center in 2012. We’ll start with something simple: the voices of 100,000 of us.
That is our challenge. Add your name.
And send me ideas at Dylan@DylanRatigan.com on how we can build a movement to Get Money Out. The clock is ticking, so let’s get to it.
Truth to Power,
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112. USA
Category: Campaign Finance Reform