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You hear the complaints all the time:
- "There's just too much money influencing Washington."
- "Big business has a big advantage over the little guy."
- "We must remove money from the political process."
Here's a very recent example of this type of hot air:
Why billionaire political investors will pour ever more money into politics -- until they're stopped.robertreich.org/#.UMfb1FOJ7q0.…
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) December 12, 2012
Until they're stopped?
Who is Reich trying to kid?
If he really wanted to stop them, his entire state-worshiping career would be thrown into a tailspin.
The only way to stop the buying and selling of politicians, is to reduce their "value". And their value is calculated by the amount of power that they wield. Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million because the amount of power that he would be able to influence, and use to his advantage, was worth that much to him.
Put a powerless politician in front of Adelson, and the politician will be quickly escorted to the door. Ron Paul wouldn't even make it past Adelson's secretary.
However, put a politician in front of Adelson that can give him subsidies, provide monopoly privileges, and the ability to erect all types of barriers against his competitors, and now you have something "worth" spending the big bucks on.
By now, even a person with average intelligence should be able to get it. We're not talking about a ridiculous mathematical equation here:
But alas, the Robert Reich's don't get it. For them, the problem is the money. It needs to be stopped.
What Reich, and many others like him, are missing is the purpose that the money is serving: Influence.
Money is just one way to influence. It's surely not the only way, but it is quite popular.
Let's do a mental exercise and say that a law is passed. No more paying off politicians.
We should note that government can't even keep drugs out of its prisons, so the idea of keeping money out of politics is almost too laughable to even discuss. But let's talk hypotheticals here. A law is on the books.
Ok....What are the options now for an Adelson?
- First, he may just flat out break the law and pay the politician off anyway.
- He can strike a deal with a politician: "You take care of me now, and there's a Swiss bank account filled with X amount of dollars waiting for you when you leave office."
- He can offer the politician a cushy job after he leaves office...$1 million salary to start.
- If Adelson wants to be even more discreet, he can have one of his buddies offer the politician a cushy job after he leaves office.
The possibilities are limited only by the imagination. In other words, the number of ways to influence a politicians is endless.
So merely removing money (again, something that could never happen anyway) solves nothing. The root of the problem has not been addressed. Politicians have power that they should not possess. But since they do, the Adelson's and Buffett's of the world are going to want to influence them.
On the other hand, if you were to remove the power, you'd also remove the problem.
Explain this to a person like Robert Reich and it just doesn't compute. For him, removing power from politicians is equivalent to stopping the rotation of the Earth.
Reich would much rather circle behind the President and watch him sign another law...I'm sure he gets a charge out of it....maybe a little misty-eyed too.
But the truth is, the President can sign laws until his royal pen runs out of royal ink.
Politicians that wield power will always (in one way or another) be bought and sold by the highest bidder.