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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stopping the Corporate Coup d'Etat

For 1/1000th Our Federal Revenue, We Can Remove Corporate Money From Politics
by JP Sayles, Political Finance Reform

Gaming American Politics - The Most Profitable "Industry" on Earth

David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's Budget Director and architect of the largest tax cuts in history complained in an interview for 60 Minutes (Oct. 31, 2010):

"In 1985, the top five percent of the households, wealthiest five percent, had net worth of $8 trillion. Today, the top five percent have net worth of $40 trillion.  The top five percent have gained more wealth (in 25 years) than the whole human race had created prior to 1980."

Who would argue that half (if not more) of that $32 trillion increase in wealth was acquired at the expense of increased government deficits, reduced government services, damaged economy and middle class losses?  It certainly appears that the corresponding 30-year increase in political expenditures made by the corporate elite succeeded in purchasing near absolute control of our politicians, government, tax code and revenue.

As always found in free market business conditions, corporate leaders most likely anticipated that their competition (in this case citizens reeling from devastating loss) would eventually:

A) Reverse engineer what corporations provide politicians for control (about $3.5 billion/yr)

B) Discover this is costing citizens at least $640 billion per year ($32 trillion/25 yrs x 1/2)

C) Decide to apply 'standard business practices' of 'spend-a-little-to-save-allot', by making a 'competitive bid' to pay politicians the $3.5 billion directly (through pay incentives and campaign funds), cutting-out-the-corporate-middle-man, saving hundreds of billions of dollars per year

A profit of $640 billion/year on a $3.5 billion investment provides a breathtaking 15,000% "Return On Investment".   The annual profits from this "industry" far surpass American oil industry profits combined, making "Gaming American Politics" the most profitable industry - and best investment on earth - for 25 consecutive years!

Changing the Way Money Flows In Washington

There are two ways to effect change: mandate it or incentivize it. The voting masses have tried for decades to mandate loyalty from our politicians via the threat of voting them out. For many, losing political office only means making millions working for corporations - so in the 21st century that's an empty threat - and throwing Congress in prison is entirely impractical and will never happen because they make the laws.

Given this reality, clearly it’s time for something entirely new - like cutting our losses and pursuing the opposite strategy of incentivizing loyalty. This proven strategy works exceptionally well for the Koch brothers - so why not copy them?

The Logistics:

Somehow find a way to: "convince those who benefit from it, to make law illegalizing it" - ie. receiving billions of dollars in lifeblood revenue streams from private industry - a nice trick and our proverbial catch 22 - but precisely what must happen.

And America can no longer trust SCOTUS, (polls show a vast majority disapprove of Supreme Court's job performance), so new, untouchable law produced by a constitutional amendment appears to be absolutely necessary.

How might all of that be accomplished and what would it cost?

Fighting Fire With Fire - Emulating the Corporate Strategy

Professional Revenue:

The cost to finance political campaigns has averaged $4 billion per election year the past three election cycles (’04, ’06, ’08). Clearly we must finance elections ($2 billion per year) from public funds.

Despite many attempts we have failed to accomplish this, most likely because Congress has other, far more lucrative financial connections to private industry - and the corporate elite don't want to lose this financial control, so it doesn't get done.

Personal Revenue:

Perhaps the key to finally achieving "campaign finance reform" is to replace with tax dollars the personal wealth Congressional members acquire with corporate stock portfolios; highly coveted corporate perks and war chests; and their multi-million dollar job loss safety net of corporate lobbying, all of which far exceed Congressional salaries.

Political Finance Reform goes several steps beyond just campaign finance reform alone by addressing all revenue/benefit streams simultaneously - by proposing to budget an additional $1.5 billion per year to:

#1 add a zero to Congressional pay

#2 greatly improve Congressional pensions - with longevity/performance based incentives

That could incentivize change.

In exchange, Congress must illegalize all of their financial connections to private industry during service and after. With strict enforcement laws, 100% financial dependence could provide their undivided loyalty - saving middle class taxpayers trillions of dollars - and democracy itself.

The Strategic Reallocation of Tax Dollars

If agreed to, the amount necessary to reallocate should be about $3.5 billion per year, representing just 1/10 of 1% of our federal revenue, $3.55 trillion. If we can fix precisely that which destroys our political system, government and economy by reallocating just 1/1000th of our revenue - who would say no?

If you faced losing your $200,000 home but could save it for $200, would you make the expenditure? That's 1/1000th. Isn't America our home? If we can save our children's future by reallocating a microscopic 1/1000th of our revenue, then shouldn't we?

Further, if we’d go to war to preserve free market capitalism, shouldn't we be prepared to adapt to its unintended and most feared consequences?

Complete Loyalty Shift

Now with 100% loyalty due to 100% financial dependence (a free market corporate, Koch brothers principle), to further ensure regaining control we can demand and achieve these equally necessary and critical elements to government reform: (important links)

#1 Claw-backs (Election, Lobbyist, Corporate, Political Corruption Reforms)

#2 The mislabeled "Citizens" United counteraction strategy (Personhood Conditional)

Proposed Constitutional Amendment #28

With the money on the table perhaps we could eliminate legalized political bribery by "reforming the way we finance our politics" in a single, resounding, one-time, all encompassing win/win constitutional amendment - keeping SCOTUS out of it.

With this amendment, the voting masses would hold near absolute control over our politician's #1 career opportunity #2 job security #3 personal enrichment #4 social status #5 retirement security - not special interest groups, which as it is, appears to defy logic.

OR —

We can stand indignantly with our arms folded, refuse to take this action on the grounds of “principle” and continue our freefall into the corporate-slavery abyss.

Do I think they deserve millions? That’s irrelevant. The question is, do they think they’re worth millions. Apparently so, and they're in position to do something about it at our expense, which costs us thousands of times more.

The question remaining: Can we get past our rage towards congress to act logically?

Removal does not appear to be the answer. Replacing politicians - or even changing parties - is clearly not working and changes nothing literally rendering our voting power impotent!

While some might feel that many Congressional members deserve to be imprisoned for larceny, fraud and conducting war under false pretenses; that is impractical as Congress is unlikely to allow laws that imprison themselves. In fact, they could be considered "victims of the system" which they inherited, that in its current form requires their financial dependence on private industry.

Conclusion: Fix The Broken System - The Rest Should Take Care of Itself

Let's treat the cause - Political Bribery - rather than applying temporary band-aids to the symptoms - reform attempts.

Who thought that resolving "the issue of our generation" would be painless? Doesn't this solution appear to be far less painful than the looming alternatives - catastrophic economic failure and middle class collapse?

Had we implemented this upgrade to our system a decade ago, would we revile Congress today? If we don't do this, what will it be like ten years from now? With our politicians’ complete financial dependence - and therefore possibly their undivided loyalty - what would environmental, bank, energy, tax and healthcare reform look like?

Our petition goes straight to Congress.

Let us all pray for the day when we can look back on "The Era of Legalized Political Bribery" as we do slavery - and wonder in amazement how we ever allowed it to exist in the first place.


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