Democracy and Power 114: The Power Players
Who actually controls the force of government? The politicians and interest groups control the American political process. As stated, the politician seeks power. Special interest groups – big business, small business, 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.
Financial reform is the hot issue in Washington. The reform legislation has the potential to greatly increase Wall Street profits or losses. Billions of dollars are at stake. With legislation pending before committees, Ben White in Politico observes the politicians’ deliberate and unashamed request for campaign money from Wall Street.
White quotes a bank official:
“The fact is that the ink is not even dry on this bill, and everyone in town is still getting fundraising requests from members of the conference committee and all sorts of other people who were beating up on Wall Street,” an official at a large bank said, citing Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) as two conference committee members who recently sought Wall Street contributions. Maloney and Kanjorski would not comment.
“It’s unseemly at best, and right now we are just not inclined to say ‘yes,’” the official said.
It is more than unseemly, this is blatant corruption. A mutually corrupting relationship has been established between Wall Street Bankers and politicians, which certainly contributed to America’s financial crisis. The money going to the politicians is enormous. In the last 15 months Democrats have received $27 million and the Republicans $19.5 million from Wall Street employees.
Tragically, the mutually corrupting relationship will continue. Note the banker’s statement. “….right now we are just not inclined to say ‘yes’.”
Benjamin Franklin understood the relationship between special interests and the rulers, and their danger inherent to all forms of government. Franklin warned his fellow delegates to the Constitutional Convention:
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.