Class Warfare Blog

November 16, 2011

It Is Not About the Ideology

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:23 am
Tags: , , ,

The current NBA lockout tells us everything we need to know about our current state of politics. On one side of the labor divide in the NBA are the Owners, generally quite wealthy individuals. On the other side are the Players, athletes who make from hundreds of thousands of dollars per season to millions of dollars per season. The two groups are often referred to as the “Billionaires” (the Owners) and the “Millionaires” (the Players). It is also probably no surprise that the majority of those affiliated with political parties in both groups are registered as Republicans.

A fundamental plank of Republican ideology, having near sacred overtones, is the sanctity of markets. If markets are unfettered, the best results occur. End of story, if you are a Republican, no? So, let’s see what the bargaining positions of these two groups are. The Players want a free market for their services. They bid out their services and let the market decide their value. The Owners, on the other hand, well, are in favor of—there is no other way to say it—a regulated market. They want more regulations in place that limit what they can pay for players.

Hunh? The fatter cats want more regulation? How can this be? Republicans are against anti-business regulations. Bad! Bad!

Don’t be fooled by the Republican’s (or Democrat’s) ideological smokescreens. It is not about ideology. It is about . . . money.

Politically our national political dialogue is about everything but what it should be about—corruption. We send representatives, in our place, to take care of our collective business. We expect those representative’s motivations to be to serve our interests. Instead their motivations are money. Money to get re-elected or money to line their pockets, it is the same thing. This is the very definition of political corruption. And the country’s monied interests have the finest government that money can buy, and because it is their money and not ours, our interests are not even close to being served.

There is only one solution to this problem, a line clearly needs to be drawn between honest political contributions and influence peddling. The line has to be simple, easily understood by the voting population, clear and definite. I suggest that that line needs to be the boundary lines of political districts. The Supreme Court has declared corporations to be people and money to be a form of free speech, but influence peddling is still illegal. Using political boundaries solves myriad campaign finance problems. Why should someone who doesn’t live in my city have the right to bribe my mayor? Yes, I say bribe because it is a proven psychological fact that people receiving “gifts” always feel the urge to reciprocate. So, someone from another city giving money to a mayoral candidate in my city is, whether he desires this or not, undermining the responsibility that candidate feels to his constituency, the people who live in his city. Candidates for mayor of a city should only be able to accept donations from people who live in that city, people whom the mayor will represent. People from outside the city should not be trying to buy influence with my mayor.

But what about free speech? People from outside the city still have free speech rights, absolutely. They can hire a hall in the city and then deliver speeches. They can walk from house to house arguing for their candidate of choice, they can create political ads for broadcast in the city. But all speeches, all literature, all ads must be clearly labeled “Paid For by Outsiders.” The information people need to evaluate political messages is based on the speaker’s motivations. If someone is working very hard to get a candidate elected and that candidate won’t represent him, one has all of the critical information needed to evaluate that someone’s contribution. Outsiders do not get to coordinate their campaigns with “in district campaigns,” either.

I would further add that if corporations are to be “people,” they have to have some of our limitations in addition to our advantages. My political districts are determined by my “primary address.” Inside all of the districts overlapping with my primary residence I am an “insider.” If a political district doesn’t overlap, I am an “outsider.” So, too, should corporations be limited. Their primary residence shall be that of their corporate headquarters. So, I can freely contribute money to any presidential candidates, U.S. Senate candidates in my state, U.S. House candidates in my congressional district, and all of the state and local candidates for all of the offices in my district. Corporations have the same benefit. Unions have the same benefit.

And outsiders can have their say, just from the outside.


1 Comment »

  1. Well said. I think there is a problem with the concept that a campaign donation is equated to speech. Spend all the money you want to actually say whatever you want. Campaign donations are bribery in plain sight. Representatives should be speaking in Congress for their actual living constituents, not a fictional entity whose only intersection with the district is a business interest.


    Comment by Peter Walsh — November 17, 2011 @ 8:12 am | Reply

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