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Now IT IS VISIBLE for the WORLD to SEE and have HOPE!

Now IT IS VISIBLE for the WORLD to SEE and have HOPE!
Now IT IS VISIBLE for the WORLD to SEE and have HOPE!

an amateur can spell amatuer either way he likes at Time Travel Wish and Paradox One, the discovery

an amateur can spell amatuer either way he likes at Time Travel Wish and Paradox One, the discovery
an amateur can spell amatuer either way he likes at Time Travel Wish and Paradox One, the discovery

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

There Has Never Been a Better Time for 100% Public Campaign Financing

 

- President Teddy Roosevelt, 1905


We have proven beyond a doubt that our current electoral campaign finance system mostly does not work for anyone but the wealthy. This inequity is why United States representative democracy has never truly been in place. If you think that historically what works well for the wealthy, works well for you in the long run, then you may not agree with this solution.

The route to Public Campaign Financing has to be a new Constitutional Amendment, because obviously Constitutional amendments are not ruled unconstitutional except by another amendment. 

The anger and disappointment over our Supreme Courts' decision in Citizens United verses the United States, is swelling the ranks of democratic activists and unifying them toward a goal of a Constitutional Amendment to repeal Citizens' United.  I say whoa. Citizens United is horrible, but lets use this opportunity to both fix Citizens United and correct something long over due that will reap benefits for democracy well beyond just the repeal of Citizens United. Public Campaign Financing would remove the target for every corporation and superpac benefiting from Citizens United. Many democracies around the world are succeeding using their own form of Public Campaign Financing. There have been several periods of time in our recent political history where Public Campaign Financing was offered by many people as a solution to the corruption and misrepresentation and under representation that occurs constantly under our current system of campaign financing. The call for Public Campaign Financing is so old it is almost traditional American rhetoric.

I support overturning Citizens United - and it's underlying warped philosophy that corporations are people. But it is foolish to NOT make use of the huge energy and anger in all political parties currently to finally create Public Campaign Financing, which would cause Citizens United to become MOOT and introduce full representative democracy where over 100 million non voting eligible citizens finally become represented. The advantages of PCF are numerous and the arguments against these advantages are very hard to make. The whole proposal for PCF makes so much logical sense it makes the effort to introduce a constitutional amendment to defeat Citizens United look trivial in comparison.

"The greatest moral question which now confronts us is: Shall the trusts and corporations be prevented from contributing money to control or aid in controlling elections?" 
                                  - Defeated Presidential candidate Judge Alton Parker, 1904.

Candidate campaigning has been tainted by the dollars of the few wealthy over the interests of the poorer many since our inception. I don't need to mention examples of the corruption, the resulting absence of representation, the conflicts of our interest created by massive dollar amount campaigns. I won't mention the many examples of decades of fighting against large money donors to get our congress to do something, anything. I don't need to mention that after that fight, when we think we are about to get something with all of our interests in mind, that we get watered down half measures of legislation that are partially representative of us all.

Nearly 50% of our federal representatives, 261 members of Congress, are millionaires. Among us the numbers of millionaires are 3 - 4%. The first priority on their first day as elected representatives is to start raising money to get re-elected. A US Senator from a rural state will have to raise on average $20,000 per week once elected to prepare for re-election. That Senator will have to ration his time for meetings with those most able to re-elect him, not time finding solutions to our problems. Our two presidential candidates will spend nearly $1 billion on this election, up hundreds of millions of dollars from the last general election.

How much are we spending on elections? From Ryan Borek, Executive Director, Take A Stand PAC: "In 2010, researchers believe approximately $4 Billion was spent on the midterm election. 2008's Presidential Election cost over $1.7 Billion not including other elections, and likely topped over $5 Billion. The off years such as 2009 tend to lag significantly behind at around $2 Billion. The average US Senate race costs around $4-7 Million, with the average US House race costing $2-6 Million. State elections cost significantly less, usually around $500,000. Local elections can cost as little as $5,000 depending mostly on filing fees. It is difficult to ascertain exact costs as the system is not designed to keep track of state or local spending in any central location. You can find the exact spending for any single federal candidate at FEC.gov, however you would need to contact each individual state's election office to find the spending on a state or local candidate."

Per person based on current population and the above estimate of $5 bilion per year, a standard General Election would cost approximately $15.87 each. Who would not be willing to pay $16 per year to better ensure real representation for all of us, without conflicts of interest, without corruption of our elected officials?

In the ruling of the Supreme Court in the now famous "Citizens United," corporations were given the status of an individual in the practice of petitioning government their grievances and exercising free-speech. Essentially in the invisible center of every corporation lies a being, a being that pays taxes and wants legislation that favors them, as if they were individuals with unalienable rights like us.

This interpretation of free speech and who or what can participate monetarily in our elections was greatly damaging to representation in that it tipped the scales even more toward more robust representation of those of greatest means. It was not enough that the entire executive board of a corporation is entitled to use free speech and vote their minds as individuals, now an invisible new being in the middle of the conference table is able to pool its larger amount of resources and out-bark the general populace or any target population they may, thereby manipulating all of our futures unrepresentatively.

Enter the only best answer: the 100% public financing of every electoral campaign in the United States of America. Below is educated speculation of what happens after Constitutional Amendment number twenty-eight that mandates this change, has gone into effect:

1. With literally no more purse for the coinage of the lobbyists to be dropped into at our elected representatives offices, the lobbyists for corporations and unions and smaller governments get real jobs in the private industry and vanish in one day from Capital Hill never to be seen again, so long as the 28th Amendment is the law of the land. Citizens United and all other rules as they pertain to corporations or any lobby, will matter no more because all campaign material and money must come from the public fund only, and gifts to our representatives and candidates will remain illegal.

Some lobbyists find a job in a related field practicing an American tradition: marching  around all day outdoors in front of the capital building carrying protest signs advertising slogans about issues. No wooden handles allowed guys! Stay within the yellow tape please!

2. Do the corporations or the unions still have free speech, representation, the ability to give money toward campaigns? Yes of course! The public fund for electoral campaigns is also contributed to from corporations made of individuals who pay a flat rate toward the public campaign fund, just like the citizen who pays the same exact rate who may own a small house right-next-door to the multi-billion dollar corporation. If a corporation is a person and that person is entitled to the free speech act of giving to a political campaign, then under Public Campaign Financing that person/corporation has given, with taxes, toward the political campaign, just like every body else under the new 28th Amendment.

This is a new shared representation in free speech ability the nation has never known. The "individualist" corporations' argument will then have to be "we have more money so we want to be able to give more money because we are more important to the nation than the little people!" And perhaps "This is not unfair to the great majority of the population!" Opinions that will be hidden from us and that the public would find distasteful.

3. Equal campaign funding for equal candidates everywhere. Knowing that your competition has not one more dollar than you do to spend on the campaign, makes the issues and your position on them far more important than ever before in determining a winner. As a representative you won't know who to support more on any one issue unless you delve into your constituency for real information on the issues. Information you then use without influence in dollars, while keeping in mind that it's your stand on the issues that will get you re-elected.

4. Equal political air-time. The media will have to abide by the rules just like individuals. They can not use outside funding for any political propaganda unless it is from the Public Campaign Fund. And they can not get that money until campaign time. Like Great Britain we have restricted the number of calendar days before the election in which television and radio and newspaper advertising can be displayed by anyone in favor of in opposition to a campaign or an issue of political purpose. Perhaps 60 days prior to election. When the millionaires' public relations manager calls the television network to try to gain advantage in an election, the manager would tell him or her "Sorry but you can't advertise for a political issue or a candidate until September 4th of this year and then you'll have to prove your money comes from the Public Campaign Fund. My hands are tied by the 28th Amendment. If you like we can interview you at any time, but your opposition gets an interview also."

Is it not time for the frenzied race to the top of Capital Hill lead by the wealthiest to end?  How much more evidence needs to pile-up for us all to admit the system as we know it, as it's structured, does not work? The Founders did not imagine our present could become this bad, I'm sure. We are not the few land owner, white, businessmen voters and congressmen the framers did imagine, any longer. In attempting to fix our electoral system few if any better solutions exist. Any answer must eliminate the power of the big-money contributors and return our nation to the people.

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But this seems unconstitutional! . . .


Keep in mind successful Constitutional amendments are not ruled unconstitutional except by another amendment.

The purpose of the First Amendment is not damaged by Public Campaign Financing. The goal of representative democracy is shared and more fairly distributed, rendering the political speech concept of our free speech more representative and so more powerful than before.

If public funding of election campaigns is somehow unconstitutional then since 1976 checking a box on your income tax return that gives $1-5 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, is also unconstitutional. Because that is nothing more than what Public Campaign Financing does, And the SCOTUS has denied a challenge to this practice on two occasions. I's our government managing and collecting a fund for election campaigns specifically.


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The clarion call out of the windows of our homes should be "It's my money and I want my politician back!"


Thank you. Grace on the United States.

James G. Mason


Please post critical and constructive criticism in the comments section below. I will try to  answer every question.

Please sign the online petition! http://bit.ly/LCjp17 It's not an iron-clad endorsement of this solution to sign the petition. It's purpose is to get the public and our Congress interested and talking. Sign it to help if not only to allow us all to begin the discussion.

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