By Jack E. Lohman
The basic problem is that money works. Greed at the top and shared with the politicians making or unmaking the laws is killing America. Some call it shared booty, but it is hard not to call them political bribes.
We need non-conflicted leaders; not more of the same. Seriously, how can we help countries convert to a democracy when our own politicians are giving ours away to the Fat Cats that fund their elections?
Indeed we must fight Citizens United. It is a stupid Supreme Court decision that gives corporations even more power than they've ever had. But if corporations want to be people, let's TAX them like they are people! (That'll change their minds in a quick minute. )
Certainly if we muzzle corporations, they'll just give bonuses to the executives and the CEOs will pay off the politicians instead. And if we prevent money from corporations they'll just give bonuses to be spent on outside issue ads promoting the corrupt politicians.So we need several other changes" and quick!
a) Term limits: Like, to *ONE* term!!! ONE 12 year term for senate and ONE 8 year term for House/Assembly and ONE 8 year term for president or governor. It is the 2nd term "need for money" that has corrupted the system, and we've learned from the Middle East that lifelong terms are ineffective and corrupting. (But ensure a federal recall ability in the event a leaker gets in.)
b) Close the revolving door: Once in congress, even as a staffer, prohibit lobbying for five years thereafter. And above all, prohibit lobbying with cash in hand.
c) Disclosure: We must publicly fund a website disclosing the votes that every member makes (see votesmart.org), though politicians can do a lot of bad things in the background to block good legislation, and this must be disclosed as well.
d) Corporate reform: Like, giving shareholders (owners) a binding vote on whether they want profits to be sent to politicians and whether they want their corporation to engage in politicking at all. And giving them the final vote on CEO wages and benefits.
e) Corporate taxes: At the very least prohibit tax write-offs of any pay/benefit package over $1m (otherwise the taxpayers essentially fund pay packages). But even better is to make corporates taxes zero and compensate by increasing personal taxes for the wealthy to the old 50% level.
Yea, I know. But tax the hell out of companies and they'll just pass the taxes to the consumer or offshore even more of their jobs. We have given them a choice: either bring your profits home so they can be taxed, or invest them overseas where they are not taxed. Absolutely stupid! We need ZERO taxes on corporations to encourage them to bring jobs back home!
f) Scheduled import tariffs: NAFTA and CAFTA be damned, they are why we are here in the first place. Schedule import tariffs for 2013 and give corporations a chance to bring jobs back home, or face higher prices if they don't. Those tariffs can help fund our unemployment costs.
g) Health care reform: No, not ObamaCare. Germany has an excellent two-tier system that provides VW services to 90% of the public and is taxpayer-funded with required employer contributions. But about 10% of Fat Cats have opted out and bought private policies that allow private rooms in private hospitals with celebrity doctors and private nurses. Most doctors do not make the kind of money in Germany that they do here. On the other hand, if you qualify for Medical School your education is free in Germany.
h) And the biggie: Get our politicians off the payroll of the corporate Fat Cats with public funding of campaigns. Only then will they vote for laws that benefit the taxpayers and our nation's jobs. I do not want my politician determining this nation's energy direction when he is on the payroll of nuclear, coal, oil, or clean energy sources. I want him unconflicted!
So now I know what "jobless recovery" means. Corporate profits are at an all-time high, CEO salaries and bonuses are up by 30%, and the little guy is still jobless and broke. All thanks to our bought-and-paid-for politicians. Thus item (h) is the most critical of all.
This is clearly not intended to give labor a clean bill; wages are too high in comparison to China and India. Leaders asked for a lot and they got it, all while jobs went elsewhere. The pendulum has swung the other way and we must get real about wages (admittedly, executive wages as well).