Campaign Finance Reform Needed - And Response (2)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Overall, we have had a good system of representative government in this country. To date, this system has generally produced good public policy.     

Examples include:  

• Public health programs that have eradicated diseases and saved countless lives 

• The Interstate Highway System and other public infrastructure building programs providing the backbone of our transportation system and much of our national economic infrastructure. (Public utilities etc.)

• Federal Deposit Insurance  

• Social Security and Medicare 

• The GI Bill and VA benefits 

• FHA loans promoting home ownership

• Consumer protection programs

• Anti-discrimination laws and policies 

• Clean water and clean air programs 

• Workplace safety requirements 

• The military and intelligence communities that keep our country safe from foreign invasion and terror attacks 

• Local, state and federal law enforcement, FEMA, Fire/Rescue services, EMS and 911 systems, protecting property and saving lives 

• The National Weather Service  

• Beautiful local, state and federal parks and lands, preserved for all to enjoy for future generations 

• Student financial aid programs giving many poor and middle-class Americans their only opportunity to go to college and obtain a first class education beyond high school 

• Food and drug safety programs 

• Basic and advanced scientific research producing astonishing advances in science and product development.  Some examples include: NASA, CDC, Dept. of Energy/Nuclear Power etc. 

• The generally successful use of the Federal Reserve System to regulate monetary policy and limit recessions and prevent depressions 

• An unparalleled system of criminal justice, courts and independent judiciary to protect people, punishing the guilty, protect civil rights and preserve justice for all 

• Anti-hunger and mal-nutrition programs 

• K-12 public education systems that have better prepared the majority of Americans for jobs, competition in the global marketplace and a higher quality of life

While American governments on the local, state and federal levels are not without flaws,  they are not “out- of-control,” “oppressive,” “inept,” “bungling,” or the “tyrannical beast” toward citizens that the extreme right-wing talk-show circuit often makes them out to be.      

As a nation, we will do ourselves a great service if we realize this and find ways to preserve the successes while working together to limit current and future failures.    

One way to limit future government failures is to limit the amount of large-dollar special interest money flowing into our elections.  With the Supreme Court rulings over the last five years, the time has come for the American people to seriously consider real campaign finance reform. This will take a Constitutional Amendment.  Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ford has a good proposal regarding this concept. So does New Mexico Senator Tom Udall.  

Campaign finance reform should be a non-partisan issue. It is vitally important to every American who cherishes the concept of one man, one vote, free speech and a fair and level playing field to participate in our election process and public discourse.  Money, in my view should not be equated to speech. Speech is speech. If money were speech, many would have no speech at all. Others would have a little speech, yet others would have more speech and a few like the 1 percent would have a whole lot of speech to give away and influence public policy often at the expense of the majority interest.  I don’t think most of us want a country where only the ultra-wealthy like the Koch brothers, George Soros and others who can afford to give away big-money or loud-speech are the only ones who get access to our elected leaders and are ultimately heard.   Yet, this is where our future is headed, if true campaign finance reform is not addressed through a Constitutional Amendment.   

By limiting the influence of big-money special interest on elections, we will free our future elected leaders to better study issues and underlying causes. They will then be free from big-money influence to truly represent all of us and vote in the broad interest of the American people,  rather than the narrow special-interest of big-money contributors, corporations and PACS, necessary to win today’s elections.   Much greater trust will be restored in our representative democracy.  

When we limit the impact of special-interest money on elections, Congress and others will begin to find the political will to better address problems like the growing national debt.    We didn’t get into the debt problem overnight and we won’t get out of it overnight.  It may take us 25 years to a half century to effectively address it, but we need to start. As a percentage of the GDP, the national debt has been higher than it is today, but before long our time to effectively address it without a major economic catastrophe or having the ability to sustain vital programs like Social Security and Medicare will pass.   Good public policy now will help us sustain vital government successes into the future.   

I hope you will study the issue of real campaign finance reform and then support a Constitutional Amendment on the subject, similar to what Justice Stevens or Senator Udall are proposing. I understand Congress will likely consider it this session.    

We’ve had some great American successes. Let’s work across the political spectrum to address these new problems and enjoy many more American successes in the future.    

Tim Gobble 

* * * 

Ponzi Scheme: An operation where the operator pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the operator. 

You mentioned our Social Security program as an example of "good public policy." In theory, sure, it's good.  In reality, it is a government-run and sponsored Ponzi Scheme, and nothing more, which is why it is well on its way toward collapse. 

Social Security is an example of many things, but "good public policy" is not one of them. 

Sam Horn
Chattanooga 

* * *

Mr. Gobble is correct we do need campaign finance reform but not for the reason he is stating.  The laws on the book must be enforced such as funding of campaigns by foreign sources should be stopped. The hyper rich progressives that push the idea that government is answer to the problems caused by government should be stopped.  Only citizens should be allowed to fund candidates and government should not have their hands in the process.  I decided to address each of Mr. Gobble’s alleged point of government success individually with the actual results. 

Public health programs that have eradicated diseases and saved countless lives
Most of these were started by private charities and only after years of debate did the federal government take over.  Now that the feds have control diseases that were eradicated are not popping up due to lax border security because the feds will not control the borders as is required in a sovereign nation.  

The Interstate Highway System and other public infrastructure building programs providing the backbone of our transportation system and much of our national economic infrastructure. (Public utilities etc.)
The best functioning railroads were always the ones that were privately funded.  Thousands of upstart federally funded railroads failed in the late 1800’s as the owners would take the federal money and never finish the railroad.  Our interstate system was quite good and in Tennessee it is better than most states, no thanks to the feds.  The system has been deteriorating since the 1990’s as politician had rather send tax dollars (or loan money from other nations ) on paying people not to work. Our economic infrastructure is thankfully mostly in private hands and run very well.  Many “Public Utilities” are privately owned.  The smaller public utilities owned by small towns are controlled at the local and not federal level and function much better for it.  TVA has been a success story for the federal government but because it is successful many politicians of both parties have tried to squash it through the years. 

Federal Deposit Insurance 
This program has been fairly successful and it is a tossup whether private insurance could have done the same job. 

Social Security and Medicare
For these programs the people who paid money into the system are less likely to get the promised return than someone who never worked and drugged themselves into incapacitation then claiming to be disabled or an illegal immigrant that skipped the immigration lines and then sign up for benefits in sanctuary cities. 

The GI Bill and VA benefits
The GI bill used to do a lot of good, now the programs have been cut and if a veteran does not immediately take advantage of the program they just lose out on it.  And then there is the VA, socialized medicine at its best: waiting list, dirty facilities, understaffed, and in many cases under qualified staff. 

FHA loans promoting home ownership 
This program lead to the housing bubble of 2008.  Encouraging people to buy more house than they can reasonably afford is not a smart move. 

Consumer protection programs
Good consumer protection programs have always started with private citizens.  On the other hand the time when government took it on itself to protect the public it has been to protect companies with political connections from competition. 

Anti-discrimination laws and policies
The true anti-discrimination laws and policies have been good.  The harmful ones like affirmative action have hurt people of all races and sexes. 

Clean water and clean air programs
These clean water and air programs started out with good intentions but today are being used to squash small farmers, intimidate small businesses and keep affordable housing out areas where rich progressives have move to. 

Workplace safety requirements
Work place safety requirement are good.  The way they are enforced is completely haphazard and illogical. Those with the right political pull lie Nancy Pelosi’s tuna enterprise in the central pacific are ignored. 

The military and intelligence communities that keep our country safe from foreign invasion and terror attacks
The military and transportation are the only actual things the constitution authorizes the federal government to spend money on.  The military is the first thing to be cut by progressive lawmakers as they do not care about national security or their Constitutional responsibilities. 

Local, state and federal law enforcement, FEMA, Fire/Rescue services, EMS and 911 systems, protecting property and saving lives 
I agree that the state and local law enforcement are essential but these should be locally funded only.  Since the federal government only enforces laws it wants to (see immigration and border security) the feds are not doing their jobs to protect and save lives as per the law. 

The National Weather Service 
The National Weather Service closed 70 percent of the weather stations across the country due to the fact that to prove man made global warming they could only use 30 percent of the weather stations to get the results they wanted.  If this is not political corruption to scam the public I don’t know what is. 

Beautiful local, state and federal parks and lands, preserved for all to enjoy for future generations
No matter how beautiful the park, seizing land from private citizens in violation of the Fifth Amendment is not only illegal but also immoral. And thanks to the Kelo decision the Fifth Amendment has been gutted so we are left with seizing private citizens land is immoral. 

Student financial aid programs giving many poor and middle-class Americans their only opportunity to go to college and obtain a first class education beyond high school
Thanks to federal intervention this program is now a disaster.  It is now easier for an illegal alien to get financial aid than a poor or middle class citizen. 

Food and drug safety programs
Thanks to the FDA, many drugs proven to be safe in other countries that could save the lives of some very ill citizens have been kept from the market to protect the crony corporatist from competition. 

Basic and advanced scientific research producing astonishing advances in science and product development.  Some examples include: NASA, CDC, Dept. of Energy/Nuclear Power etc.
The most prominent case of the federal government squashing scientific research is Robert H Goddard.  He was making great strides in rocketry until the feds started a propaganda scheme to drive away all his private funding sources.  Today, there is a concerted by the feds to squash new innovations, regulate researchers out the country and when actual research disproves a government funded position the feds push propaganda through the schools and media claiming real science is the lie (see MMGW.) 

The generally successful use of the Federal Reserve System to regulate monetary policy and limit recessions and prevent depressions
Every recession and depression this nation has suffered through since 1913 has been caused by the Federal Reserve. Before the reserve recessions and depressions were confined to single states or local areas.  This allowed people to move to where the economy was good.  Today thanks to the Fed Reserve, all recessions and depressions are national and you can’t escape by moving to another state. 

An unparalleled system of criminal justice, courts and independent judiciary to protect people, punishing the guilty, protect civil rights and preserve justice for all
This has been true until the federal government stopped enforcing the basic border security laws that a sovereign nation must uphold to protect its citizens from crime and disease.  We were supposed to be a land of laws not of men, but today since only some laws are enforced and others ignored entirely and citizens privacy right are being blatantly violated  by the government the system is broken. 

Anti-hunger and mal-nutrition programs
These programs work great when the local governments or better yet private charities handle them. Once the Feds get involved the price goes up and fewer needy citizens are actually fed. 

K-12 public education systems that have better prepared the majority of Americans for jobs, competition in the global marketplace and a higher quality of life
The education system of the U.S. was in the top ten in the word in 1979 before the Department of Education.  After 35 years of federal involvement in education the United States public schools system is not even in the top 25 in the world.  If a business had the same success rate the federal government has had, it would have failed and would have been forgotten.  Since the Department of Education is a government program it continues to suck money from the federal coffers that could have been left with the citizens to pay for better education in a private system.
Consistently around the world and in our own backyards the evidence is clear that more government means more poverty and corruption.  Private citizens and companies can’t force you to do or buy or not to do or buy anything legally but government can.  Barry Goldwater was right, the government that is big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take it all away.  

Wesley Garner
Cowan, Tn.


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