Corruption Is Legal In America
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[Represent.Us Corruption Is Legal In America]
[Mansur Gidfar (Communications Director (Represent.Us:] Source: LYBIO.net
For the last few years, I’ve had this sense that everything I learned as a kid about how America’s government works is completely wrong. But I had no idea how bad things actually were until I saw this one graph. Researchers at Princeton University looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a pretty simple question: Does the government represent the people?
Now, this is what they have found, this axis here represents public support for any given idea, on the left at 0%, are ideas that not a single American wants, on the right at 100% our ideas that everyone supports.
This axis represents the likelihood of congress passing a law that reflects any of these ideas from 0% to 100% chance.
On this graph, an ideal republic would look like this.
If 50% of the public supports an idea, there is a 50% of chance of it becoming a law. If 80% of us support something, there is an 80% chance. You get the idea.
Now most Americans would probably agree that with a few exceptions we should be as close to this ideal as possible. Unfortunately the way America actually works doesn’t even come close.
Take an idea that nobody supports, literally nobody and it has about a 30% chance of becoming federal law. Now take an incredibly popular idea. The most popular idea this country has ever seen and there is also about a 30% chance of it becoming law. This means that the number of American voters for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.
[Mansur Gidfar:] Source: LYBIO.net
Put another way, and I’ll just quote the Princeton study directly here: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” So if you’ve ever felt like your opinion doesn’t matter and that the government doesn’t really care what you think, well… you’re right. But there’s a catch.
This flat line only accounts for the bottom 90% of income earners in America, economic elites, business interests, people who can afford lobbyists, they get their own line.
Look at how much closer their line is to the ideal. When they want something, the government is much more likely to do it, and when they don’t, they have the power to completely block it from happening, no matter how much the rest of the country supports it. They get what they want and guess who ends up paying for it.
We pay for it, with the most expensive healthcare in the world, we pay for it with the tax code that’s a complete mess, we pay for it with Internet that’s slower and more expensive, with a wasteful spending, a floundering education system, a catastrophic drug war and one in five American children born into poverty. Almost every major issue we face as a nation can be traced back to this graph.
How does this happen? Well, just follow the money.
Right now, it’s perfectly legal to buy political influence in America. Here’s how it works.
Let’s say a big bank wants a law that would force taxpayers to bail them out again if they repeat the exact same reckless behavior that crashed the global economy in 2008. Not exactly the most popular idea with the public and congress knows that. That should be the end of it, but that’s where the money comes in.
It’s perfectly legal for our bank to hire a team of lobbyists whose entire job is to make sure the government gives the bank what it wants. Then, those lobbyists can track down members of Congress who regulate banks and help raise a ton of money for their reelection campaigns. It’s perfectly legal for those lobbyists to offer those same politicians million-dollar jobs at their lobbying firm.
Then those lobbyists can literally write the language of this new bailout law themselves, and hand it off to the politicians they just buttered up with campaign money and lucrative job offers. And it’s perfectly legal for those politicians to take the lobbyist-written language and sneak it through Congress at the last second.
So now you’ve got a law that greatly benefits the banks and the whole process can start over.
This is how a bill becomes a law. A special interest hire some lobbyists, those lobbyists collect campaign contributions, offer jobs and then write the laws that Congress then passes to help those same special interests. This happens every day on every single issue with politicians of both parties.
In the last five years alone, the 200 most politically active companies in the United States spent $5.8 billion influencing your government. Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support and that’s trillion with a ‘T’. And that’s just the top 200 companies. Never mind every other special interest, every union, every trade association and every billionaire; every single one of them can use their money to buy political influence.
You know, there’s this idea out there that this only became a problem after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. But the data goes back almost 40 years and the results are clear. Corruption is legal in America, and as long as it is anyone who can spend money to buy political influence – will.
The solution here isn’t rocket science, make corruption illegal.
[Mansur Gidfar:] Source: L Y B I O . N E T
We already know Congress won’t do it, I mean, one look at this chart will tell you that.
What we need is a plan that lets us go around Congress and do what the American people do best, fix this mess ourselves.
Well, good news, we have that plan and it’s already working. Now that we’ve got the problem covered, let us show you how to be part of the solution.
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