I am dropping out of “the battle of the billionaires” because the money poured into attack ads by both sides is irrelevant to a national agenda. Further, when I hear from anyone running for office I’m asked to sign a petition against the other side and send in another contribution. This strategy is armed by little folks firing petty cash into a black hole. It is also faux citizenship: contribute a buck get access like the big guys, just in smaller bits. With judicial consent.
Why is this irrelevant? By some estimates the 2012 general election was our most expensive ever with about $6 Billion spent. Honestly, did you change your mind based on attack ads? I thought not. Me neither. Basically, that money was wasted; it is a sorry state we’ve come to. And the elected representatives we count on to step in and fix the mess are entangled up to their necks, collecting donations to stay in office.
Just for grins, let’s see what that amount of money translates to if invested wisely, for example in hiring the unemployed at a minimum wage of $10 an hour:
$6,000,000,000/10 = 600,000,000 hrs./2,000 hrs. per work year = 300,000 jobs. It doesn’t matter that we only have elections every two years because campaigning and donation collection are continuous!
See the benefits to us? I see $6 Billion injected into the economy to create even more jobs; same amount saved from reduced unemployment claims; $60 Million returned to the U.S. Treasury in taxes; another $60 Million paid into Social Security; and another $Umpteen billion saved on servicing interest on the national debt. There’s more.
About 100,000 families would not go bankrupt. About 100,000 would buy health insurance with no penalty for previous conditions. Possibly 100,000 lives could be saved. I would contribute to a publicly-funded election for this goal.
Problem: Economic research (Google “oligarchy” and “wealth inequality”) warns of the loss of capitalism through wage inequality, and our democracy to the rule of a wealthy/corporate elite. Whether it is true or not, many believe this; the perception is real. Our constitutional system based on the power and authority of the people has lost credibility among all generations. Citizens across the political spectrum express doubt that our elected representatives answer to us, American voters. Billionaire wars via attack ads attest to our loss.
This conclusion answers many questions, foremost being why there has been no action by political parties and their wealthy backers to address national concerns. As long as left is pitted against right no common ground is developed to create solutions.
A national agenda: We don’t need a scientific poll to identify items for a national agenda. Try these reforms:
- tax code;
- national health care;
- election financing;
- gun rights; and,
- fair wage reform including a higher minimum wage and a maximum wage tied to rising wages below management levels. (Thank you Dick Montague.)
No matter what you have been led to think, we have the power and authority to change how our country is governed. The solution is advanced citizenship voting for national interests. Our government has more than enough money to operate if it spends our tax dollars for the right reasons. Speak out. Stop contributing to the elite power game. Vote in your own best interest for the country.
Bill Ellis is a local author. Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org