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Democracy and Power 101: Government is power
The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
- James Madison, Speech in the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830
America’s Constitutional system has been corrupted by politicians lusting for power and special interest groups seeking special tax loopholes and regulations. Large campaign contributions are implicitly exchange for gigantic and specific benefits bestowed by government. Caroline Baum in Bloomberg states:
There’s nothing in there (Constitution) about carving out special exemptions for certain individuals or groups; about using tax credits to achieve socially desirable outcomes…; or about doling out earmarks in an implicit exchange for campaign contributions.
The American Constitution, designed to limit and disperse the coercive power of government, has been emasculated and urgently needs fixing. Baum suggests three remedies: a constitutional amendment, independent taxing commission, or vote out Congress. Baum recognizes the political and structural barriers to enacting any of the proposals.
However, she also senses the escalating public revulsion and anger.
The public is sick and tired of politicians preaching tax increases and practicing tax evasion. We’re fed up with the 67,000-page loophole-ridden tax code with its egregious exemptions and deductions.
In a democracy the politician must favorably influence the majority of their voting constituents. In all political decisions the politician calculates how many votes are gained by voting money spent on an interest group versus how many votes are lost.
To amend the constitution or structurally change tax policy requires a focused campaign in which large segments of voting Americans participate. Politicians will respond when threatened. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey often states, “You must own the politician’s fear.” Unfortunately, only strong and persistent public outrage and participation can break the mutually corrupting influence of special interest groups and the politicians. Baum obliquely implores for disgruntled Americans to force Congress to provide structural remedies: It took a Tea Party in Boston in 1773 to put the British on notice. Maybe it will take the modern day equivalent to get Washington’s attention.
FreedomWorks and hundreds of grassroots organizations must coalesce and support structural change to preserve freedom and democracy. The next report will outline approaches to amend the constitution.