Money in politics

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    True liberals are in agreement with us that money in politics is a problem as it keeps special interests in power rather than agents of change. Obviously, we would prefer a system in which government is so small that special interests would have nothing to purchase from them… at least not at the federal level. But in the meantime, what are we to do about this problem? What of solutions like this one proposed to me by one of my socialist-type friends:


    The video has it that “This isn’t the America we were promised.”

    No, the America we were promised has Article 1, Section 8 in its Constitution, which enumerates and limits the powers of Congress. Additionally, the America we were promised has the 9th and 10th amendment which provide that the enumeration of
    powers shall not be construed to deny rights retained by the people, and powers not delegated are reserved to the States or the People.

    Thomas Jefferson and James Madison warned us of our present situation should we ignore Article 1, Section 8 and the 10th amendment:

    “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

    “For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and
    qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

    Letter from James Madison to James Robertson

    “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground:That all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.”

    “To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”

    Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington on the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, 1791

    But what we have today is a Congress with a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.

    Greed is in the human DNA and it can’t be legislated out of existence. But power is what corrupts so diluting it by preventing its centralization is the best we can do, not hoping to alter human character by legislation. As Madison wrote in Federalist 51:
    “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

    Rather than affiliate with the impossibility of legislating corruption out of existence while, simultaneously leaving the Central Authority with all its powers as, of course, socialists would have it, I would rather affiliate with the possibility of restoring our Constitution and decentralizing power, thereby returning our country to the “… America we were promised.”


    You can try to explain to other individuals in a way i do. The individual is the sovereign, and individual rights do not come from or are bestowed upon individuals by the state or federal government. They belong naturally to the individual.

    The constitution expressly protects individual rights. There is an illogical supposition by certain individuals that somehow the general welfare clause gives politicians a right to confiscate what others have and give it to another individual through force, coercion etc. This of course is nonsensical, as the oath the politician swears is to protect individual rights. If they were to rob one individual to give to another individual, or corporation they would be violating their oath of office, the constitution, and individual liberty. The money that is thrown at politicians bribing them “lobbying” to violate the rights of others is not the only problem. The other problem is politicians robbing money through involuntary taxation, and or debasing the currency which robs all individuals whom use it as their media of exchange, In the case of the US (as well as other countries) legal tender laws force an individual to accept a payment against their will.

    So ask these individuals that espouse not only socialistic policies, but others as well. Is theft immoral and against the law? Their answer may very well be yes. If theft is immoral, and unlawful, then what makes it right for a politician to engage in such behavior on another individuals behalf? How would they like if an individual broke into their residence, robbed their property, threatened their family and told them they are to pay money every week, and if not, they will be beaten up, or thrown in jail? So if they do not wish this upon themselves, then how is it they can advocate a politician behave in a similar manner on their behalf?

    This simple engagement sets the stage to engage the illogical policies individuals believe in, and may open up their eyes to what they and other individuals on other sides are actually advocating.


    Why shouldn’t there be money in politics?

    If you accept that government has power over people to the extent it does then you should expect that people will demand a share or influence. Any laws to prevent money coming into politics will be useless as long as politics continues to exert power in financial affairs.

    The best that can be hoped for is retaining power at the most local level. The closer it is to home and the more diffuse it is the harder it will be to corrupt. That means always being in favor of localizing power no matter the outcome. For example at a local level they might ban certain things which would otherwise be allowed with more central power but this is a price that has to be paid.


    What the Court said in Citizens United is that when the First Amendment bans Congress from restricting the freedoms of speech and the press, it bans Congress from limiting people’s campaign expenditures. This, it seems to me, is perfectly obvious: if I have freedom to print what I want, I have freedom to pay others to print what I want. They are the same thing.

    Socialists want to undo Citizens United because they dislike freedom of the press. Period. In pushing McCain-Feingold, John McCain said that his goal was to insulate politicians from critical advertising too proximate to an election. In other words, his law was as nakedly unconstitutional as it could have been. It is hard for me to understand what people think they are going to gain by abetting politicians who want to be immune to criticism.


    I may be looking at this too simply, but the problem seems simple to me. The largest issue with money is politics is not at the presidential level but at the Congressional level as this is where the laws are passed. So the first step would be to put in jurisdictional fundraising for Congressional (both house and senate) seats. That is a person can not raise money from outside the district in which they represent.. Provisions can be made for companies/unions that have employees living within a district. As an example, I live in Ohio and I could therefore only give money to my House rep ( J. Jordan) or the person running against him. As well as I could give to Portman or Brown. However, I could not give money to Pat Toomey to run for Senator from Pennsylvania.

    The next thing, and more than likely the most important, is a tax system that does not allow congress to issue tax “loopholes” to companies or individuals that they like or tax penalties to those that they do not like.. Be it a flat tax or a fair tax, it must remove the power of congress to continue tax as they see fit but only tax in an “equal treatment under the law” system.

    These two steps, at least to my way of thinking, would put all politicians and private individuals on equal footing.

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