So, you want to make money? Join a political race. Get in the lobbying business. Or, join a marketing group for political consulting. That’s where the money is.
It has gotten out of control. Elections are bought and sold. Favors are called in and delivered. Laws are changed.
Is it illegal activity? Not really. But, is it affecting the country? Most definitely.
Let’s take a look:
- Obama’s expected Campaign budget for 2012: $1 billion. Yes, $1 billion. Add that to the amounts all of the Republican candidates will raise. Think about the commercials bought. The signs made. The parties given.
Can you imagine what could be done with all that money? High speed rail? Clean up Tuscaloosa or Joplin. Instead, we use it to select a President based upon sound bites. We should limit their spending to $1 million and make them get in front of people as opposed to getting on TV.
- What about favors called in? Governor Siegelman was convicted of bribery, conspiracy and fraud: Justice Department Release. Chris McNair, a Jefferson County Commissioner was convicted for bribery along with 21 others linked to the Jefferson County Sewer debacle: News Release. Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Larry Langford was convicted of bribery. Illinois Governor Blagojevich is on trial for corruption (found guilty of one count out of 24 according to the New York Times).
That’s only a small sample, three in Alabama, a relatively small State in comparison. It would take too long to post all similar activities. And what about the judicial branch?
- The candidates in three 2010 Alabama Supreme Court races raised $4.3 million. $3.1 million was poured into the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court battle. Karl Rove has used his "skills" to get Republican Judges elected around the country who will typically side with members of the U.S. Chamber in various legal disputes.
Why is so much money funneled into all of these political races? More money. Look at the U.S. Chamber’s website. They have a specific section on Tort Reform. They are always talking about lawsuit abuse. But, lawsuit filings are down. Verdicts are down. Look at the recent clamor for tort reform in health care. This is such a big issue on the national agenda, but in reality, medical malpractice cases account for less than 1/2 of 1 percent of health care costs according to a Public Citizen report. So, the question is, why is this such a central issue on the Health Care reform front? Lobbyists and MONEY.
To really get a sense of the system, you can check out a new documentary on HBO. This movie will help you understand what is really going on. It’s called, "Hot Coffee." You can review the makings of this move on the website. Here is a Hollywood Reporter review from the Sundance Film Festival. And, here is the trailer:
I urge you to watch this movie and think about this: The Judicial Branch is our third branch of government which allows the people access to courts in order to balance the system. When that branch of government becomes controlled by a certain segment of the population, our ability to fight larger corporate interests and the government is removed, and corporations and governments have less accountability.
The system is not out of control in that regard. There are checks and balances within the courtroom. Many hard working individuals are employed by large corporations so the only ones who benefit from the removal of this branch are those corporate and government select few who are working toward a rigged system. As individuals, we should be concerned about this situation.