Sunday, January 08, 2012

What is wrong with our Political System? In a word, Money.

Here we go. After what I consider to be a disastrous decision by the Supreme Court in 2010 (Citizen's United vs FEC), where essentially corporations are now individuals and there can effectively be unlimited contributions from the wealthiest people, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire, has given $5 million to a super-PAC that backs Newt Gingrich. He is reportedly willing to spend $20 million for Gingrich. How is this democracy, where the few have the power to manipulate elections? How does this work in the spirit of 'every man created equal,' which is then forgotten when it comes to elections, where we are clearly NOT equals since money is the kingmaker? I fear this is just the start of what will be an insane campaign season when it comes to money - super-rich individuals and big business and and unions and lobbyists as the go-betweens vying to have the biggest influence on the election. What's more, they will almost all contribute at least something to both sides, so they will be able to have access and influence regardless of who wins.

What I would love to see is public financing for elections. Give candidates some lump amount of money to spend on their campaigns. Let the public see how they are able to work with a fixed amount of money (like they will need to do in office), how they set up a campaign budget, and may the one who is able to best convince the electorate that their ideas are best win. No PACs, no unions, no corporations, no dominance by a few individuals. As one comment I saw states very well: "It is not an election - it is an auction." Office sold to the highest bidder!