Dan Weeks from ACR (Americans for Campaign Reform) in 2009 mentioned two key points. First, when someone is deciding whether or not to run for office, the first question they ask themselves is, "Do I have enough money or can I raise enough money to run?" As a result, money becomes a barrier to entry into the political process. Second, 1/10th of 1% (0.1%) of the population provides 3/4 (75%) of the money used to fund political campaigns. This gives a very small, wealthy minority of the population a very large majority of the power in determining who runs, who wins, and how issues are addressed.
Overall, the tiny percentage of people who give are using the public commons
(Earth, government, and airwaves)
to enrich their private interests.
In 2004, per capita, Minnesota was the most lobbied state in the country. Over $50 million was spent lobbying policy makers and regulatory agencies. In 2005, $55 million was spent. Lobbying was mostly by (i.e., The Chamber of Commerce, financial institutions, insurance companies, toxic industries and sprawl builders). These special interest groups have taken over our government, and have thus defined our culture. Their powers of influence and numbers are so massive that the average citizen is no longer heard. In fact, the average citizen has become overwhelmed and marginal in the political arena. As these special interests define policy to serve their profit-driven needs, they gradually dismember the Earth. This dysfunctional pattern must cease. It can only end when the expectations of we the people are raised and we take a stand against continued toleration of this dysfunction. (And now, with the recent Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision it will become even harder to prevent bigger, more blatant corporate influence on the system.)
As to the direction of reform in the financial industry at the end of 2009:
“Whatever the intentions, this "reform" would effectively legitimize the existence of a corporate state. This concentrated power would be neither socialism nor capitalism, but a grotesque hybrid that combines the worst qualities of both systems. Government and politics would become even more responsive to big money, but also able to tamper intimately with private enterprise, picking winners and losers based on political loyalties, not on performance. Capitalism with its inherent tendency toward monopoly would have the means to monopolize democracy.” William Grieder: 3/23/09, Common Dreams News.
Presently, corporations set policies and agendas at the State and Federal level. To name just a few offenders: Cargill, Goldman Sachs, 3M, Wells Fargo, Xcel Energy, and Exxon/Mobil, Flint Hills Resources/Koch Industries. For further insight go to: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed
These corporations and their front groups such as the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and MN Business Partnership Inc. have staff who go into work every day to dominate our government as they reinforce and promote the growth economy model while they centralize control over markets, and increase profits leading to perilous-destruction of our home, Earth. And, whatever the rationalization for allowing this behavior is, the Network and its members must become strong and as determined as these organizations, if not more so, in order to achieve our mandates.
As long as a small percentage of individuals and organizations bent on financial gain at all costs is allowed to maintain externalities such as not paying financially for the consequences of their pollution, the ramifications of extinctions, infusion of cancer into our society (and other critical issues not included in the proverbial bottom line), they will have an advantage over the average citizen. Citizens, the everyday people, are in turn left damaged and demoralized. People who understand and want to confront these issues are not willing to kill habitats, cause extinction, or leave massive toxins for the next generation. They are people who desire to do the right thing yet have felt they have no power to implement the right actions. Why should the masses set on moral fair play continually lose, and, in essence, concede the planet, fellow creatures, and the future of their children, because they don’t have the financial wherewithal to challenge this insane mechanism?
The Network will attempt to return the power to the people and implement the transformations needed to make a more just, honest and ecologically sound government and financial construct.
The time wasted by the two dominant political parties and candidates raising funds is needed now for solving the most pressing problems that humans have ever had to face.
We need people who are thoughtful and have the interest of the ecology and the common people at heart. We cannot afford to have decisions or implementation of policy set by a handful of rich individuals or misguided people in corporations whose only goal is to control markets and enhance their profit margin at the expense of the our home, Earth.
Well over a majority of our fellow citizens are aware of this corruption but are stymied by the voting structure, the big money, and the corporate interference in our government, which leads to a sense of futility in some and leading others to give up on politics all together. Others are lead to low expectations, accepting crumbs for ourselves, and more specifically, our politicians and government. This does us all an injustice, making us weaker and leading us ALL to a lower and lower quality of living, as well as increasing risk to health and life
There are ways to remedy this. Time is of the essence. We must act now.
-The Center for Public Integrity® , 910 17th Street NW , Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006 USA , (202) 466-1300 , http://www.publicintegrity.org/ (Follow their programs called "Lobby Watch". And track Minnesota.)
-Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board, 190 Centennial Office Building, 658 Cedar Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55155, Hours: 7:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, except for state holidays , 651-296-5148 or 800-657-3889, http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/
f0 (Follow: "Lobbyist Principal Expenditures-By Expenditure Amount")