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The Real Problem
Truth and frustration | Dec 8, 2011 | Semper - Vanity

Posted on 12/08/2011 1:13:16 PM PST by Semper

To: Presidential campaigns

How will your Candidate deal with the serious problem of our broken political system, corrupted by special interest money, contaminated by a breathtaking lack of ethics and perpetuated by the manipulation of a misinformed or ignorant electorate?

Your Candidate's good ideas and solutions will not manifest or endure until that situation is corrected. Our critical challenges will not be solved within a broken political system.

Here are just a few suggestions:

* All campaign financing should be completely transparent. Our current president received millions from undisclosed “small donor” contributors. A small donor contributing many times becomes a large donor and could be an illegal donor. Also, just how much taxpayer money is being spent on this president's re-election campaign and should that be allowed - for any office holder? Is that “fair”? (the president's most recent concern)

* All elected officials should be subject to the laws passed for the general population. There are many examples of abuse – insider trading being the most recent. “Fair”?

* Only those who can vote for a candidate should be allowed to contribute to that candidate's election/re-election campaign (corporations, unions, political parties, etc. can not vote, therefore they could not contribute, contaminate or corrupt). The emphasis should be on the individual citizen's appropriate participation.

* Each citizen's vote should be weighted according to the amount of taxes paid over the past voting period (2 years). Those paying no taxes get one vote; those paying taxes get one vote per (x) amount paid. Your voice equals your contribution. Fair.

When the above critical issue is addressed, when the Candidate offers a solution to the most important problem we face, I will consider donating more than just an observation and suggestion.

Sincerely,

Signature, Captain U.S. Marine Corps, Retired


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: election; fairness; money
The above is the body of a letter sent to several presidential candidate campaigns. It is offered for comment and as a call for other such letters.
1 posted on 12/08/2011 1:13:20 PM PST by Semper
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To: Semper

>> Only those who can vote for a candidate should be allowed to contribute to that candidate’s election/re-election campaign (corporations, unions, political parties, etc. can not vote, therefore they could not contribute, contaminate or corrupt).

I disagree with this one for the same reason as the Supreme Court:

Laws passed by politicians certainly AFFECT corporations and other groups. Given that, why should they NOT have the free speech right to influence campaigns?


2 posted on 12/08/2011 1:19:05 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Semper
I agree with all but this: * Each citizen's vote should be weighted according to the amount of taxes paid over the past voting period (2 years). Those paying no taxes get one vote; those paying taxes get one vote per (x) amount paid. Your voice equals your contribution. Fair.

Instead, I would say that you cannot vote in an election if you have been on government aid for more than 1/2 of the preceding year.

3 posted on 12/08/2011 1:22:41 PM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: Nervous Tick

However, a corporation and union are made up of individuals. Perhaps companies or unions could promote a particular candidate to their employees/stockholders (companies) or members (unions), but their influence should not exceed those individuals directly affected by the company or union.


4 posted on 12/08/2011 1:27:34 PM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: Semper
"So, do you want to know why the permanent political class doesn’t really want to cut any spending? Do you want to know why nothing ever really gets done? It’s because there’s nothing in it for them. They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed – a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along."

"So, this is why we must remember that the challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012. The real challenge is who and what we will replace him with. It’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country."
5 posted on 12/08/2011 1:30:26 PM PST by Bigtigermike
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To: Nervous Tick
Laws passed by politicians certainly AFFECT corporations and other groups. Given that, why should they NOT have the free speech right to influence campaigns?

Maybe a good point but organizations are made up of people with differing political views and therefore some will have their effort and or investment used to support a candidate not of their choice. Not fair.

6 posted on 12/08/2011 1:35:55 PM PST by Semper
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To: Bigtigermike
If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country."

My point is that the needed change will most likely not happen with the current defective political system.

7 posted on 12/08/2011 1:52:00 PM PST by Semper
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To: kosciusko51
you cannot vote in an election if you have been on government aid for more than 1/2 of the preceding year.

Good suggestion.

I would also add the suggestion that after serving in elected office, you could not lobby the institution in which you served.

8 posted on 12/08/2011 1:56:59 PM PST by Semper
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To: Semper

After further consideration, “government aid” needs more explanation. Does that mean that a disabled person getting aid could not vote? Doesn’t seem fair.


9 posted on 12/08/2011 2:38:39 PM PST by Semper
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To: Semper

>> organizations are made up of people with differing political views and therefore some will have their effort and or investment used to support a candidate not of their choice. Not fair.

I disagree with your “Not Fair” characterization. I see three distinct cases.

1) Organizations you support voluntarily. (NRA, Sierra Club, etc) Presumably you belong because you *agree* with the group’s voice, including how it spends money to influence politics. If you ever stop agreeing with what the organization does with your money, you can always stop your dues and/or quit. Therefore, FAIR.

2) Businesses, especially Corporations. Where employees are concerned, these are NOT democracies! The corporation spends *lots* of money advancing its cause in various ways. It chooses vendors, employees, business strategies, etc. in accordance with its own principles (right or wrong). If the corporation spends money on a political campaign in a way that bothers an employee, tough cookies. The employee can, if they choose, react just as they would if the corporation hired someone they didn’t like: they can quit their job. Shareholders are a different matter; shareholders DO constitute a democracy of sorts, and THEIR remedy is to vote out management. Therefore, FAIR

3) Organizations that the GOVERNMENT requires you to belong to via coercion. The best example is a trade union in a closed shop state. It is NOT FAIR to force employees to belong to a union and pay it dues, and see that union support politics with which the employee disagrees. But SURPRISE! Federal law requires such unions to break down dues they spend betewen political and non-political purposes and REFUND dues to members who object to the political use. However, the law is not evenly enforced. Therefore, FAIR (by design) but POTENTIALLY UNFAIR (in practice).


10 posted on 12/08/2011 2:41:26 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Semper

>> organizations are made up of people with differing political views and therefore some will have their effort and or investment used to support a candidate not of their choice. Not fair.

I disagree with your “Not Fair” characterization. I see three distinct cases.

1) Organizations you support voluntarily. (NRA, Sierra Club, etc) Presumably you belong because you *agree* with the group’s voice, including how it spends money to influence politics. If you ever stop agreeing with what the organization does with your money, you can always stop your dues and/or quit. Therefore, FAIR.

2) Businesses, especially Corporations. Where employees are concerned, these are NOT democracies! The corporation spends *lots* of money advancing its cause in various ways. It chooses vendors, employees, business strategies, etc. in accordance with its own principles (right or wrong). If the corporation spends money on a political campaign in a way that bothers an employee, tough cookies. The employee can, if they choose, react just as they would if the corporation hired someone they didn’t like: they can quit their job. Shareholders are a different matter; shareholders DO constitute a democracy of sorts, and THEIR remedy is to vote out management. Therefore, FAIR

3) Organizations that the GOVERNMENT requires you to belong to via coercion. The best example is a trade union in a closed shop state. It is NOT FAIR to force employees to belong to a union and pay it dues, and see that union support politics with which the employee disagrees. But SURPRISE! Federal law requires such unions to break down dues they spend betewen political and non-political purposes and REFUND dues to members who object to the political use. However, the law is not evenly enforced. Therefore, FAIR (by design) but POTENTIALLY UNFAIR (in practice).


11 posted on 12/08/2011 2:41:42 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: kosciusko51

>> their influence should not exceed those individuals directly affected by the company or union.

Why not? And in any event, how would you measure it?


12 posted on 12/08/2011 2:47:12 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Semper
"Does that mean that a disabled person getting aid could not vote? Doesn’t seem fair."

Doesn't seem unfair to me. If you're on the dole, you don't get to vote. I'd also strip the vote from anyone on the gov't payroll or pension.

I agree with you that corporate money needs to be taken out of politics for there to be any hope of salvaging the country. I like your idea of anyone not eligible to vote in any particular election being barred from making contributions. That would keep overseas money out of our domestic politics.
13 posted on 12/08/2011 6:11:15 PM PST by CowboyJay (Generic Republican - 2012. He's the only 'electable' candidate.)
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To: Nervous Tick
The first half of the sentence you quote explained how they would be limited. Limit corporations and unions to only advising their employees/stockholders/members, i.e. a company or union could send to these groups a "vote for X", but that would be the limit of their involvement.

For example, my company each year makes an effort to give to the United Way. So we have a meeting, and they give us the nice pamphlets from United Way explaining what they do. But my company doesn't run commercials outside of the company prompting United Way. That is the limit I was thinking about.

To be honest, my thought is more idealistic than realistic, and I haven't thought about all of the unintended consequences yet.

14 posted on 12/09/2011 5:06:26 AM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: Semper

First two points I completely agree with; the second two points I cannot agree with.


15 posted on 12/09/2011 5:08:07 AM PST by Oceander (TINSTAAFL - Mother Nature Abhors a Free Lunch almost as much as She Abhors a Vacuum)
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To: CowboyJay
I'd also strip the vote from anyone on the gov't payroll or pension.

I receive a pension as a result of career Marine Corps service which included 3 trips to Vietnam. I would think that should qualify me to vote under the proposal of this thread. (Also served in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor.)

16 posted on 12/10/2011 7:21:02 AM PST by Semper
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To: Semper
"I receive a pension as a result of career Marine Corps service which included 3 trips to Vietnam. I would think that should qualify me to vote under the proposal of this thread. (Also served in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor."

I thank you for your service. I enlisted in the National Guard myself during ODS. You're more than entitled to your pension, and to enjoy your retirement. And I'd agree that you should be able to publicly speak up for your cause if you feel that you or your fellow retirees are being mistreated in some way. But I'm not sure I'd agree that government pensioners of any kind should be voting. Anybody relying on taxpayers to pay their bills for them should not be able to vote themselves more-or-less directly a larger share of the public till, IMO.
17 posted on 12/10/2011 10:48:54 AM PST by CowboyJay (Generic Republican - 2012. He's the only 'electable' candidate.)
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To: CowboyJay
I'm not sure I'd agree that government pensioners of any kind should be voting.

My government pension was earned and I paid for my social security. I pay taxes on both of those as well as on my earned income and investment income. Last year I paid over 17K in taxes. How you can think that I don't deserve to vote is hard to understand. There are plenty of taxpayers receiving some income from social security or government pensions who are far from "on the dole" and they would not tolerate losing the right to vote. In fact no one now able to vote would tolerate losing that right.

What is not right is that someone who pays no taxes gets the same voting influence as those who pay significant amounts of tax. It would be much more fair if someone paying little or no tax got one vote and those paying more tax got something like 1 vote per $1000 of tax paid.

18 posted on 12/12/2011 8:25:38 AM PST by Semper
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To: Oceander

The suggestions are not the point. The point is that our political system is broken. We need to get the national players focused on that and we need to demand to know what our leaders and potential leaders are going to do to fix this critical problem. My suggestions are just a small contribution to the process.


19 posted on 12/12/2011 8:37:04 AM PST by Semper
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To: Nervous Tick
Laws passed by politicians certainly AFFECT corporations and other groups. Given that, why should they NOT have the free speech right to influence campaigns?

Prohibiting organizations from contributing money to influence political campaigns does not take away free speech as much as its contributions dilute the influence of individual voters. It is supposed to be a government of, for, and by the people not the organizations and their special interest money.

20 posted on 12/12/2011 9:08:19 AM PST by Semper
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To: Semper
"My government pension was earned"

No doubt. You've earned the right to a retirement. But, IMO anyone accepting a gov't pension (please try not to take this personally) should have to give up the right to vote. Nobody should be able to more-or-less vote themselves more money directly from the public till. That's how all democracies (even representative democracies) fail.

"I paid for my social security"

A common misconception. There is no trust fund that you paid into. What you paid was an additional payroll tax that paid for the retirement benefits your parents' generation received, along with funding all the other various government programs your generation, in general, kept voting for. The money you paid in was gone before you retired, and the people working today do not owe you SS or medical benefits any more than you owe them welfare entitlements (which is exactly what SS and medicare were from day one). If you want your FICA contributions back, take it back from your parents - assuming they're not deceased. They (and YOU) have already spent every last dime of it.

IMO, we can reform SS, medicare, and gov't pensions now, or they will go away sometime in the next decade when the economy collapses under their weight. And "how we got here" is very simple. We allowed people who don't produce anything to vote themselves pretty much directly into the pockets of those that do.

Getting very tired of the "it's not socialism when we do it GOP crowd.
21 posted on 12/12/2011 9:57:53 AM PST by CowboyJay (Lowest Common Denominator 2012 - because liberty was overrated)
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