Sometimes it helps to state the obvious. Companies and wealthy donors are not contributing to politicians without expectations. They want a return on their investment. They want politicians to help their businesses and increase their wealth.
Last Friday, the show “Whistleblower,” highlighted a procurement person in the Department of Defense who testified to Congress about a very egregious dereliction of sourcing of contracts. She noted how a major military contract was awarded to a subsidiary of Haliburton without a competitive bid during the Iraqi invasion. If you recall your history, former Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of Haliburton before the election. This contract eventually tallied $61 billion in fees. By crying foul, she was eventually fired. Yet, this earnest and ethical public servant helped improve the procurement process and was awarded a settlement for being mistreated.
Yet, this is not an isolated incidence. Corporate welfare is alive and well. You need look no further than the environmental deregulation under this administration. But, Democrata should not be too smug, as corporate welfare is an equal opportunity offender. Politicians need funding to run a campaign, so they ingratiate themselves to people who are looking for a payback with their donations.
The cures to this dilemma should not be as hard, but funders do not want the paradigm to change. Until other citizens demand change, it won’t happen. Let me repeat a few thoughts which are not original.
– shorten election cycles – less money will be needed and fewer commercials will result.
– have term limits – twelve years for a Senator and Congressperson is plenty; two terms for a President is enough.
– debates should be structured around issues, without an audience and following debate protocols; if you speak over an opponent, you lose time.
– legislate to remedy three awful Supreme Court rulings – Citizens United, McCutcheon and the gerrymandering decision of last week.
– Eliminate commercials not sanctioned by the candidate – they are usually hateful and stretching the truth.
– Read and watch reputable news sources; if they publish or broadcast when they make mistakes is an indicator – also opinion talk show hosts are giving you biased opinion disguised as news.
– the country desperately needs a moderate party – all of these issues have created more polarized parties who are collaborating less, not more.
– Finally, especially with this president, but it goes with all politicians, take what they say or write with a grain of salt. The current White House incumbent is far more untruthful than other elected politicians now or in the past.
We the people are the only ones who can stop this. Demand the truth. Demand action. Identify your supported concerns with legislators and ask them what they plan to do about it. Be diplomatically relentless. And, remember this final point – members of Congress spend at least 1/3 of their time soliciting money. Their job is governing, not fundraising.