Google Analytics

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Am Rapidly Losing Hope!!

1) We will have to borrow four dollars out of every ten we spend on the 2012 budget.
2) We have a record national debt, and it just keeps getting bigger.
3) We have a two tier economy where the rich are rapidly getting richer while all the rest of us are getting poorer.
4) GE pays no income taxes nor do 2/3 of all U.S. companies.

And the root cause of all these very, very serious problems are "special interests". They write the budget and the income tax policies. Ain't no way around this conclusion. Every single point above is based on hard numbers supplied by the U.S. government.

So what do we do? We have to find some way to limit the role of special interests in the political process. Let's take a minute to reconstruct the way it works.

1) Getting elected to Congress (and all this stuff applies to almost every state legislature) is extremely expensive. Advertising, local organizations, etc. etc. costs a lot of money. Currently, the single best (?) easiest (?) source of money is special interests.
2) Special interests do not donate to specific candidates just because the donors are great citizens. They expect something in return for their "investments", and that is where the trouble lies.
3) Office holders know that if they do not perform as their contributors specify, the money spigot will be shut off for good, and that ends re-election chances.
4) So the key task is to take those huge amounts of money out of the election process. But how do we do that?
5) For awhile I thought term limits might do the job on the theory that if an office holder knew they would be termed out, they could find the back bone to their job in the best interests of the people. And that turns out to have been a bizarre fantasy! All term limits do is change the faces and does nothing to shut off the money faucet.
6) I can't think of any way to control the costs of getting elected. Putting a top price on a 30" TV spot, etc. etc. is just not feasible.
7) Public funding is a demonstrated joke. Just ask Barack Obama. He abandoned public financing in a Washington minute as soon as his special interest funding was working.
8) The only way I can think of is to limit the AMOUNT anyone can contribute to any one candidate in one election cycle. If every one were limited to, say $100, your $100 contribution would be just as valuable to a candidate as GE's $100.

Now we come to the heart breaking part. The Supremes have decided that campaign contribution limitations are unconstitutional. Thus, they have ended the only way that I can think of to save the U.S. from bankruptcy!

Now we will never actually go bankrupt because we control of printing of U.S. currency. What we do is inflate our currency until we can pay off all our debts with devalued currency. In short, we will screw China, Japan and a bunch of Arab countries that have kept us afloat by buying U.S. bonds as fast as we could print them, thus providing the financing for all of our deficits since George Bush decided to do away with Sadam.

Bill Gross, manager of the world's biggest bond fund just sold all of his holdings of U.S. bonds. (See earlier post.)

So what can you expect? First of all, the richy riches will go ballistic as they see the value of their holdings disappear. You can expect to pay $25 for a dozen eggs. If you are living on a fixed income, color yourself screwed BIG TIME! But if you owe anybody money, rejoice. The new dollars will pay off your debts rapidly.

So when does chaos set in? Remember we are not the docile Japanese who share problems stoically. We riot and smash store fronts and loot right and left. We have millions of guns and lots of ammunition to shoot them.

Am I too pessimistic? Maybe. Anyway, here is the Supreme push toward chaos.

Supreme Court appears ready to reject Arizona campaign finance law

The Arizona law offers extra 'matching funds' to candidates who face well-funded, free-spending opponents.

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

March 29, 2011

Reporting from Washington

The Supreme Court's conservative justices signaled during oral arguments Monday that they would vote to strike down another campaign funding law and make clear that states and cities may not try to "level the playing field" between candidates for public office.

The justices objected to part of an Arizona law that provides public funds to candidates for state office if they agree to forgo private fundraising. The disputed provision gives extra "matching funds" to candidates who face a well-funded and free-spending opponent.

Conservatives and libertarians in Arizona sued and argued that the extra funds unfairly penalized candidates who relied on private fundraising. They lost in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the law and said it did not limit the free-speech rights of the candidates who depended on private funds.

The Supreme Court has been split 5-4 on campaign funding cases, with the conservative bloc in the majority, and that split was evident again.

Last year, the conservative majority said spending on political campaigns could not be limited by law, even to prevent big corporations from using their profits to sway elections. They sounded just as determined Monday to make clear governments cannot seek to "equalize" spending between a well-funded candidate and a challenger who is trying to keep pace. If so, the court will deal another blow to liberals who seek to limit the effects of money in politics.

Arizona's voters adopted the Citizens Clean Elections Act in 1998. It offers state candidates a basic grant to run for office and extra "matching funds" if their opponent is spending heavily with private funds. For example, a candidate for the state Legislature who receives a grant of $21,000 to run in a general election can receive up to twice that amount in extra funds to match the spending of his opponent.

Several states, including Maine, Connecticut and Florida, adopted similar laws, as have at least a dozen municipalities, including Los Angeles and New York.

"Under our precedents, leveling the playing field is not a legitimate state purpose," said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. "I checked the Citizens Clean Elections Commission website this morning, and it says that this act was passed to 'level the playing field' when it comes to running for office. Why isn't that clear evidence that it's unconstitutional?"

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. expressed the same view a few minutes later. The Arizona law, he said, "aims to allow the publicly financed candidates to run on the same footing as privately financed candidates. That's leveling the playing field, isn't it?"

The court's three other conservatives — Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas — have regularly voted to strike down campaign funding laws, and Scalia and Kennedy made clear they were inclined to void the disputed part of Arizona's law.

The court's liberal justices spoke up in defense of Arizona's law, and an Obama administration lawyer joined the argument on Arizona's side. But they appeared to be one vote short of a majority.

Three years ago, the court in a 5-4 decision struck down the so-called millionaire's amendment, which had allowed congressional candidates to seek larger contributions if they were running against a self-financed millionaire. Alito said the scheme was an unconstitutional effort to equalize spending between rich and not-so-rich candidates. On Monday, several of the conservatives cited that decision as precedent for striking down the Arizona law.

Last week, the executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in Arizona said that a ruling striking down the matching-funds provision would weaken the public funding law, but not kill it.

"We can function without the matching funds, but it means participation will go down," Todd Lang said. "Outsiders will continue to use [the basic public grant] but fewer incumbents will do it" because they would fear being badly outspent by a well-funded opponent.

The court is unlikely to hand down a decision in the Arizona case until June.

No comments: