Friday, February 19, 2010

What Do the President, Congress and Tiger Woods have in Common? They all owe us a Mea Culpa


Today Tiger is going to explain to the American people, or is it the corporate sector, why he should be forgiven and forgotten and let him return to making millions. It is an event the media, sports community and sponsors all want because they are all losing mega bucks with Tiger in rehab.

But don't the president and Congress also owe us a Mea Culpa as well? I mean for the last decade or more Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, have been spending money like drunken, well, politicians I guess, without a care in the world about paying for the spending. We now have record deficits and a record national debt and right now not even our great grandchildren will be able to pay for our sins of gluttony.

President Obama promised us a change from the old way of politics. He promised us new and responsible government and he promised no more deficits like Bush. He then proceeded to rewrite the record book for deficit spending and increasing the national debt in his first year in office and has done nothing but make excuses why he was forced to be just another politician once he became president.

Along came the public who promptly said, the idjits in Washington still don't get it. Then the public did something that caught our politicians flat footed, they started throwing out politicians through the ballot box. First came New Jersey and Virginia and then came Massachusetts and suddenly the back room politicians took notice.

Now the president, Congress and even the media seem to have undergone divine enlightenment and suddenly they are acting as if they knew all along what the public wanted. Well look at the record my friends, our elected leaders and our news media were dead wrong in reading the public, dead wrong in how they managed the public trust, and dead wrong in their dramatic, born again attitude that maybe the liberal spendthrifts were leading us astray. It was not the liberals, it was the whole damn bunch!

Now, we are supposed to forgive the president and Congress for prior spending discretions. But unlike Tiger Woods, whose apology may be a bit hypocritical since it has a lot more to do with money than honesty, but at least he did apologize, when are the president and all of Congress going to also come forward with their Mea Culpa and admit they were wrong?

An addiction to spending money cannot be stopped until there is an acknowledgement it was wrong in the first place. As they do fall in line and adopt the fiscally responsible way DO NOT let them off the hook until they have attacked the causes of their spending addiction. We all know how easy it is to stop an addiction only to start again. However, until you throw away and stay away from prescription drugs, booze or tobacco if that is your addiction, you will always be stopping but never be finished.

There are root causes to our political addiction to big spending which have not been acknowledged and are not being addressed by our born again leaders. While we know they can play the role of Uncle Sugar and throw money at anything and everything, we also must know that they are awash in money because of their uncontrolled spending. Yes, our politicians have legislated themselves legal grand larceny with the ridiculous campaign finance laws and the sea of special interest money they are drowning in.

Here is a profile of our born again politicians as we enter the 2010 election cycle, and remember we are only s little over 6 weeks into the year. So far candidates for the House of Representatives have raised over $370 million. Candidates for the Senate have raised over $239 million, and the Democratic and Republican party combined have raised over, get this folks, ONE BILLION DOLLARS! That means over $1.6billion is already in the bank, or is it pockets, of our elected officials.

Incumbent politicians, those the public distrust the least, hold an enormous advantage raising five times more than their opponents in the House and eight times more in the Senate. Now where do you suppose all those hundreds of millions of dollars come from? Special interests, lobbyists, PACS (Political Action Committees) for special interests and employees of special interests.

An avalanche of dollars from finance, insurance, real estate, lawyers, lobbyists, single issue groups, health, communications and labor make up the top contributors to our elected officials. Where I come from that is called a conflict of interest, a bribe, a kickback or whatever. Our elected officials are owned by special interests so what chance does the public have to clean out the mess?

There is only one chance and that is if Congress and the president back campaign finance reform and I do not mean the smokescreen reforms of the past where more and more loopholes were created, I mean once and for all slamming the door shut to buying our elections. Remember, all this money was raised before the Supreme Court threw out limits on contributions by these same industries and organizations. Billions more may now be spent to protect the politicians who protect the contributors.

Public funding of federal campaigns is the only way to break the cycle of corrupted politicians. If our leaders would set up a non-partisan election fund and only allow special interests to contribute to this fund there would be no more shenanigans in the Halls of government. To substantially reduce the cost of campaigns, thus the eventual cost to the government, also ban campaign expenditures for media ads, radio, television and the Internet.

At the same time require all television stations, radio and Internet service providers to make available at no cost time for each qualified candidate for federal office. They should also be encouraged to have debates as part of their news responsibilities. Remember, our government licenses all television and radio stations and networks so why should they benefit from billions of dollars in campaign costs for commercials when they are just selling the airways granted by our government.

Of course the media will scream but the media has a special responsibility to the people as they are protected by our Bill of Rights in the Constitution, something no other industry can claim. Don't they have a responsibility to help keep campaigns free from special interests, even if they are the special interest? Most certainly.

Eliminate campaign ads on the airways and you reduce the cost of campaigns by more than 50%. Provide public funding and all candidates, incumbents and challengers alike, are on more equal footing even though the incumbent still has great advantages. At least the financial gap is closed. Eliminate all special interest funding for campaigns, instead telling those that would buy favor with their money to contribute to the non-partisan federal campaign fund. And eliminate special interest funding to the Democrat and Republican parties since these contributions are simply a way to circumvent the federal campaign finance laws and there is nothing in our Constitution that says only the Democratic and Republican parties know what is best for the people.

This is just the beginning of reforms needed but it takes the billions of dollars in special interest money off the table, money that buys favor and buys politicians. If our born again leaders can't take this first step toward breaking their addiction to campaign money from special interests they will never stop spending your tax money to help the special interests. America will lose!


No comments: