Friday, March 20, 2015

Limiting US Campaign Contributions: One Tiny Hope (3 April 2014)

Let me offer this thin ray of hope for anyone hoping for eventually limiting the money going to buy US elections: there's the possibility for some strange-bedfellow alliances.

A decade or so ago, maybe two, during an earlier round of debate on limiting political contributions, one corporate leader/rich dude was asked about how valuable he saw the influence he was buying for his money. He was willing to allow, indeed insist, that some corporations and individuals got back plenty on their political investments, but such fictive and actual folk were a bit above his pay grade. "You may see buying influence, and that is happening; but to me it feels more like extortion."

This guy felt he had some decent arguments to make for legislation and he really, really, really didn't like having to "pay for access": pay off legislators — sorry, contribute to campaigns — to get a chance to be heard.

That top 1% are 1%, and only some of them get off buying politicians. There may be a sufficient number of rich and influential people getting increasingly tired of being shaken down by politicians — and politicians getting tired of (from their point of view) begging for money — that a potent coalition could offer a vision of a world where there are limits to the shake-downs and a cap on how much a politician may, and therefore has to, beg (and/or extort).

There may come to be enough for A Coalition of the Annoyed to push through a Constitutional Amendment allowing serious campaign reform.  

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