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Mutually Corrupt: Government and Special Interests


Democracy and Power 114: The Power Players

Who actually controls the force of government?   Politicians and interest groups control the American political process.  Special interest groups – big business, big unions, education, seniors, and a multitude of others - seek favors: tax breaks, subsidies, exclusive legislation, etc.  Interest groups give enormous money to political campaigns, and receive gigantic benefits in return.

Mutually Corrupt:  Government and Special Interests

 Dick Morris, who worked for and against the Clintons, aptly describes the corrupt relationships between President Obama and big corporations and unions inThe Hill :

The fact is that Obama is less a socialist than a corporatist. His objective is not government ownership, but government management. To control the economy — and all of our lives — he needs to get rid of small banks and small business and consolidate it all in a few big banks and big corporations; hence his friendliness to Goldman-Sachs and General Motors.

Last week, the President met with his Jobs Council, which is mostly CEO’s of big corporations and unions.  Coincidentally, the CEOs or their surrogates are also big campaign donors. Hmmm...

First, the big names and their contributions, according ABC News:  

UBS, Citigroup and GE, whose chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt leads Obama’s jobs council, were the source of more than $1.7 million combined.

Second, the bundlers (those who collect and distributor many big, campaign checks):

The bundlers — Mark Gallogy, co-founder of investment firm Centerbridge Partners, Penny Prtizker, president and CEO of Pritzker Realty Group, and Robert Wolf, chairman of UBS Americas — have raised as much as $2.7 million for Obama in 2008 and 2012 combined, according to estimates provided by the Obama campaign.

Of course, there are big unions led by:

Two high-profile unions — the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and AFL-CIO — also played a key role in helping to elect Democrats and Obama in 2008, spending more than $900,000 on political communications and advertisements….  The leaders of both groups, Joseph Hansen and Richard Trumka, also sit on Obama’s council.

These big businesses and big unions receive enormous returns on their political investments. Dick Morris blasts this deplorable corruption with his inside knowledge:

When wealthy tycoons go to dinners and give Obama $35,000 donations, they know what they are doing.  …it is a conscious investment in central planning where big labor, big government, big business and big banks meet and divvy up the pie, just as they do in Germany and France. That is Obama’s game.

Today in America, this corruption is practiced by most politicians – Republican and Democrat - and there are always special-interest predators seeking privileges from approachable rulers. It's the way the game is played in DC.

Even in his day, Benjamin Franklin understood the relationship between predators and complicit rulers.  In a letter to his fellow delegates at the Constitutional Convention, Franklin warned of the dangers of this mutually corrupt alliance:

There will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them.  Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom, a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed:  the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less.  And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more.

Predators and complicit rulers are a constant threat to every society.  Slowly, however, Americans are awakening and more and more sense our government has been hijacked. 

Recognizing the problem is the first step to instituting structural change.  Simultaneously, We the People, spanning the political spectrum, are beginning to debate how to restrain this corruption.  Some think constitutional amendments, campaign restrictions, spending restrictions, and/or term limits are in order, while others believe increasing the size of Congress, and many other thoughts are the way to go.  Regardless, it's time to think and make change happen.

Time is of the essence; this collusion must be halted.  We the People must vigorously and honestly enter the debate and seek solutions to this universal, political scourge.  In order for democracy to survive and America to thrive, we must find a structural means to end this corruption.

Just as the Founders enumerated Constitutional restraints to protect personal freedom, we must incorporate additional restraints on the corruption of big business, big banks, big unions and big government.

James Habermehl

Stupid ideas like constitutional amendments, campaign restrictions, spending restrictions, term limits, and/or increasing the size of Congress are all just poor attempts at treating the symptoms instead of curing the disease. The disease is not some supposed failing of the Constitution, some class warfare theory about the "unfair" advantage of being rich, or (God save us!) yet *MORE* government regulation.

The disease is a failure of the federal government to follow the Original Intent of the Constitution, and usurping unto itself powers it does not rightfully have. Once the federal government has stolen away from the people the right to regulate our lives in ways the Constitution does not explicitly grant to the federal government, then of course people and corporations with money and influence are going to try to get a piece of that unConstitutional power pie.

The cure is not to change the Constitution. The cure is to *RESTORE* the Constitution!

James Habermehl

Whoops, in the middle there I meant to say that the "cure" is not (God help us!) yet more government regulation.