Friday, November 8, 2013

Initiative spending booms past $1 billion as corporations sponsor their own proposals

1. Initiative spending booms past $1 billion as corporations sponsor their own proposals (2013 Nov 8). The Washington Post.

2. Category of problem: Campaign spending, corporate influence

3. Level of problem: State level

4. The article concerns: Increasingly high fiscal contributions to ballot initiative and referendum campaigns from corporations and wealthy donors.

5. Why this is important: Because there is no limit on financial contributions to ballot initiative campaigns, corporations and invested donors are able to exploit this system to advance their own personal or business interests, possibly at the cost of a surrounding community's health, safety and happiness. In addition, the political power of individuals in the community is severely stunted by the inability to compete with wealthy campaign donors and the original premise of the ballot initiative system, direct democracy, is perverted.

6. My views on this issue/policy: I feel that exorbitant campaign spending by wealthy donors and corporations is the single most crucial topic facing Americans today, and the healthy progression of the US hinges on its abolishment.

Since the beginning of our Family Policy course we have discussed numerous challenges which threaten the health of our nation and our world: poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, and inadequate healthcare are only a few. All of these challenges have multiple things in common: (1) They threaten the integrity of our society as a whole, not just our poor or less unfortunate, and (2) they can be addressed and possibly relieved if we were to (a) more strictly regulate business practices, and (b) raise taxes which could then be allocated by the dictations of appropriate wealth distribution and socialization.

So the question is this: If there are issues, such as these, which threaten the safety, health and content of all US citizens, and there are ways in which US citizens and the US government can absolve these issues, why don't we take the necessary steps to do so? Who wants impoverished individuals to stay in poverty? Who wants to destroy the very earth on which we live? Who wants to deny someone the right to be treated when they're sick or injured? Clearly someone does because the US has yet to truly address these deeply serious issues. Instead of making the food stamp program a truly viable source of food for a family living under an unrealistically low poverty line, we have instead lowered taxes for the rich. Everyday we are enacting laws that simply don't make sense for the average American citizen and the pattern is evident: money is the ticket to political power and corporations and extremely wealthy individuals are using their wealth to rig legislation in their favor.

Unlimited campaign spending is one very important and direct link between money and political power. As long as campaign spending such as this goes unchecked, the people will be unable to protect themselves from a world built by the morals of capitalism. The government is not a corporation and its goal is not to derive profit: its goal is to protect the American people. But, as the article reveals, we are at the whim of corporate interest and realistic democracy is dimming each day. Efforts must be taken to abolish corporate influence in the political landscape if we ever hope to confront the issues which continue to infringe on our personal, national and global well-being.

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