To the Editor:
It’s probably always been that way. People tend to forget lessons of the past and focus only on the present leaving out anything that may disagree with their views.
Politics has always been about money and is nothing new. The one who spends the most money usually wins a political office.
The Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision allowed not only large companies to donate to candidates but allowed unions and trial lawyer groups to also donate large sums.
One might say that companies that donate money at least put people to work and give them jobs, but unions do nothing of the sort. To be honest, unions did serve a purpose at one time in the past and there are many examples of the good things they accomplished, but now they are a way for union leaders to get rich off the backs of the union workers who pay them their dues, sometimes unwillingly having their dues deducted from their paychecks.
When unions cause prices to go up, the end result is a net loss of jobs, as we saw in the automobile industry, and forcing jobs overseas to places like China or more automation to replace workers in America.
There is a cure for all this, and it is to have all campaign money paid for by taxpayers. Each candidate would be allocated a certain amount of money, depending on what political office they were running for. In order to qualify for that money, they would have to prove they have a percentage of public support for their campaign, otherwise you might have 500 people running for the same office. It’s not clear how we could force the newspaper and television industries to allow space and time for political campaigns but perhaps the taxpayers could absorb some of that cost as well. We should be able to work that out.
OK, so now we have a bunch of newly elected people who have not been bought out in advance by some rich individual, company, union or trial lawyer group. Whoever wins can start with a totally clean slate, free of pressure from any special interest group and ready to do what’s best for America.
Yes, we would still need lobbyists simply because someone needs to represent the groups that dumb laws can make or break. More than 100,000 jobs were lost when our lawmakers passed a 10 percent tax on luxury items because no lobbyist was there to tell them about the consequences of their actions. But no bribes, free vacations or free lunches would be allowed.
Only when the public can break away from control by special interests, demanding some revolutionary new laws, can we break this weak link in our democracy.