Tag Archives: government

Getting Big Money Out Of Politics

Zephyr Treachout has written a scathing manifesto about the state of US politics, the dirty money floating around Washington, and the schism between the government and the governed. While I don’t necessarily agree with some of the details, the resolution is clear: the “personification” of corporate entities, the loopholes written into every law and regulation, and the concentration of money and power into the hands of a very few are destroying these United States, much like they were in the early part of last century:

In banking, energy, gas, cable, agriculture and search, we have a limited number of companies that have accumulated so much power they are acting as a kind of shadow government, controlling policy, vetoing laws before they can even be presented. Candidates refuse to stump about a cable-TV merger because they’re afraid to get shut out of MSNBC. They don’t take on big banks because big banks have become too big to fail, to jail and even to debate about policy.

I’ve noted how the state of American politics is calling for a new, strong leader. Teddy Roosevelt was that tenacious, no-nonsense bull-moose that raked the muck out of the media-industrial-political complex that gave rise to the most prosperous nation on earth 100 years ago. Who will rise to the occasion? Will anyone actually rise to the occasion? The next healer will have to come from the people, speak softly to the people, and carry a big stick against the government that has turned against its people.

Here’s Something That Bugs Me:

It’s surprising and almost infuriating to me that Americans, in general, are quite ignorant of how their own government works. I see it every day as people blame the president, specifically, for things that aren’t necessarily his responsibility or under his control. For example, I was talking with someone earlier about how the bankruptcy laws had changed. He had made the observation that “thanks to Mr. Bush, no one can declare bankruptcy anymore.” I had to respond that he was incorrect. First, it’s not thanks to Mr. Bush, it’s thanks to the congress. You see, the congress is the branch of the government that actually makes the laws–that’s why it’s called the legislative branch of the government. The president’s job–as the executive–either approves the law or vetos the law. That’s the only thing the president can do as far as making laws, and if he vetos the law, he has to give a reason as to why he denies it. However, if the congress does not believe that the president’s reason is good enough to prevent legislation, they can approve the law with 3/4 consent anyway! It just bugs me how people don’t understand how that system works.

For example: spending bills and government spending. People blame the president on government spending when, in reality, it’s the congress that appropriates the money. Only after congress decides how to spend the money, does the president approve or deny the appropriation. Not to absolve the president from responsibility, as he does approve the spending, but it’s not the president that comes to congress saying “show me the money!” Of course, the president can suggesthow he would like money to be spent, but it is not entirely his decision. The point I’m making here, and what bugs me the most, is that instead of paying attention to the branch of government that they should be paying attention to, people choose to spend their time bickering about the president. Blame it on Bush, blame it on Clinton, whatever.

Another example: right now, the American economy is in a recession, and, of course, it’s blamed on Bush (W). However, the reality of the situation is that the only people to blame are consumers. You see, when Reagan was in office, he was heavily criticized for his trickle-down economic theory (which was introduced by Alan Greenspan), but because economics is a cause-and-effect science, things take time to come about, and from the late 1980’s through the 1990’s, the United States economy saw record exponential growth. Of course, who is credited with that boom? Why none other than the president of the 90’s–William Jefferson Clinton! People tend to only look around at what is happening to them presently, they don’t look at what processes were set in motion 10 and 20 years ago to provide for these changes–and I don’t blame them, it’s human nature. But people, instead of focusing on the president regarding legislative issues, start focusing on your congressmen. Focus on your senators and representatives–if you have a problem with something going on, take a look at how they voted, and go from there. Remember, the president can only persuade–congress does.

Atari out.