If I were to ask you what the biggest political issue of our time is, what would you say? With little hesitation, I’d tell you that we have to remove big money from our campaign process or nothing will change. During our last election cycle, 60% of all campaign funds were provided by only 132 ultra-billionaires. Campaign contributions from ordinary citizens barely amounts to anything. The wealthy bankroll the politicians and if that is not changed, nothing will change.
In this TED talk below, Harvard’s Dr. Lawrence Lessig tells us how the rich and powerful control our political process by controlling campaign funding. Our democracy is a farce. The only people showing up on the ballot are those hand selected by the rich and powerful to serve their own interests.
What do we end up with? Just to give you an example, Al Gore wanted to remove regulations from the telecommunications industry. You’d think Republicans would be all over that. After all, they’re supposedly advocates of free market capitalism. But no. They didn’t want to remove regulations which were protecting their friends who provide their campaign funds. That’s just one of an infinite number of examples.
Our Senators and Congressmen have every incentive stay loyal to the hand that feeds them. Their wealthy corporate donors make sure they’re well set up when they leave office. A recent study tracked them and found their salaries and wealth increase 1,452% shortly after leaving office, taking part in insider deals. Whose side do you think they’re going to be on?
I didn’t bother to vote this past election. I doubt I’ll vote in the next election either. I could care less whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is our president. It’s a rigged game and our politicians are the scum of the Earth. It’s a den of bribery and corruption.
They’ll pass a nearly trillion dollar bank bailout within a few days yet let 25 schools in Chicago close their doors due to a lack of funding (this latest sequester). They campaign that they’ll bring the troops home but then get into office and start up war after war. Our infrastructure falls apart while they nation build in the middle east. They tell us we’re bringing freedom to the world yet they steadily work to uproot every civil liberty of our own. They promise to close down Guantanamo Bay but it’s still going strong. They cut benefits to the poor while beefing up the drone program. They spend fortunes on huge data centers which store all our email, phone and IM conversations — warrantless wiretaps. It’s just on and on and on.
Deficits and federal debts soar. Healthcare costs soar. College costs soar. Inflation in groceries and everything else you need continues to soar. Wages stagnate, unemployment soars. Wealth inequality is the worst it’s ever been and continues to get worse. Massive stimulus packages are spent, loading down the next generation with even more debt, yet the only jobs which are created are in fast food and retail – minimum wage jobs with no benefits.
Want to hear some cheerful statistics? The median age worker in fast food is now 28 years old. For men, it’s up to 32 years old. Entry level job? Hardly! It’s the new normal. College graduates aren’t able to find work. These places work you to the bone and you earn $7.25 an hour. No benefits. You can’t even rent a crummy apartment on that. Groceries? Utility bills? Property taxes? Car insurance? … yeah right.
Thinking of slave labor, the big corporations love themselves some slave labor – just check out our prison system! Inmates are forced to work for big corporations for $0.25 an hour. Our prison spending is our fastest growing expenditure, outside of Medicaid. Roughly $50 billion spent annually, and growing. You know, they have pay back their debts to society. They were caught with a little weed on them and we can’t have that! Let’s throw them in prison for years for a drug that doesn’t harm them or anybody else.
I’m going to stop. Getting stressed out over this will send me to an early grave. My blood’s already starting to boil.