By Ilya Galak
… Halloran, captured on a surreptitious government tape, explained the approach last September after allegedly pocketing a payoff.
“You can’t do anything without the f—ing money,” he declared. “Money is what greases the wheels — good, bad or indifferent.”
“That’s politics. That’s politics,” he added. “Not about whether or will, it’s about how much….”
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Many people around the world think that USA is a capitalist society with a free market. Nothing can be more far from the truth. We Americans live in a crony capitalist society.
Crony Capitalism. Just what is it and why is it so bad? Crony Capitalists are those who seek to win in the market place, not by honest competition, but rather through government favoritism in the forms of advantageous laws, tax regulations, and other such methods. This is the heart of corruption and special interest groups as we know them today. Some among them may not realize it yet, but average people, both Conservative and Liberal are equally against crony capitalism, but they just blame each other for its existence.
Liberals blame conservatives because the free market creates rich people and they can buy politicians off. So liberals propose more regulations to try and limit said rich people’s power. Conservatives blame Liberals for creating Big Government, which won’t allow businesses to survive and grow without strong political connections.
So what can be done in order to fix the system? How can we make politicians accountable to the people, not the special interest groups? How can we make the government work for us, not us work for the Government?
I am sure there are no easy answers, but let’s try to put something on the table and start the brainstorming:
1. Campaign finance reform
The first thing that needs serious reform is campaign financing. I propose a new system. We don’t need super PACs and lobbyists to finance campaigns. Instead, let actual people, not organizations and corporations, be the source of money. Only “We the people” – US Citizens only, can donate to the political campaigns of our choice up to $250 each. If the politician wants to get elected in this system, they will have to do much, much more town hall meetings and grassroots campaigns to get elected. In the current system, our politicians spend more time meeting with special interest lobbyists, because one visit can mean an easy million dollars towards their campaign, provided they do some favors.
2. Eliminate all earmarks
Let’s do something about those earmarks. We found that politicians use most of the earmark money to purchase votes and get re-elected. As Benjamin Franklin said: “When the people find they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic”
All politicians on every level shall put info about all their meetings with lobbyists, coalitions, representatives of “non-for-profit” organization, and any other special interest group on the internet. The system is so corrupted and broken today, that I do not see any other choice.
4. Term limit
For senate, congress and all local levels of government – 3 terms: 2 years each. Mainly we need it to prevent an accumulation of power; Shedon Silver in NYS is a great example. After their last term a politician is not allowed to be a candidate for any other political race or work for the lobbyists company.
5. Party affiliation
There should be no party affiliations for any candidates during political races. People must run on their record and ability to do their job, not on their party affiliation.
6. Fighting with political corruption
A huge role should belong to the District Attorneys in the fight against corruption in the government. But today they are not free to do their job. That’s because they have to depend on local politicians and local special interest groups to get elected every term. Here’s an idea: How about having the position of DA be a federal appointment, that way the DA can go after corruption in the local government without any risk to their office. Note: defense attorney Jefferson Siegal called U.S. Attorney Preet Bharar a ‘walking term limit’
We need to stop creating all those absurd laws and regulations that kill our businesses and regulate our daily lives. We have to start repealing these laws to let people and businesses breathe. Laws against political corruption, not for it. Do not forget, Sheldon Silver and Vito Lopez used taxpayer money to cover up sexual harassment allegations, absolutely legally.
8. Made in USA
Manufacturing must be brought back to the USA. Without it the country is doomed no matter what. Why? That’s a whole other discussion. But in order to do that we must fix our political problems, stop corruption and start to think about our kids’ future.