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Terms Limits, Publicly Financed Campaigns, and Lobby Reform

  1. GA Anderson profile image85
    GA Andersonposted 19 months ago

    The call for term limits for elected officials stinks. Voters are too [dumb, lazy, uninformed, etc], to make the right choice, so let's limit their choices.

    And publicly financed campaigns... The devil is really in the details on this one. How much? Who gets it? What about other support sources; from bake sales for yard signs to super pacs for multi-million dollar ad buys? Will it require that all outside support be banned?

    Lobby reform? Legal lobbying has already been reformed. Take a look at the hoops, declarations, and restrictions lobbyists are already subject to. It is not the lobbyist that need reforming.l

    Just sayin'

    GA

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      I would add that power breeds power, and the longer a politician is in office, the more power they wield.  The more influence, the more "voice", and that inevitably means that others have less.  Which is a big problem in our government.  The stupidity of voters isn't the only reason for term limits.

      Yeah, the devil is in the details.  I think this is a good idea, but have no idea at all how it could be accomplished without massive fraud.

      1. GA Anderson profile image85
        GA Andersonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        "I would add that power breeds power, and the longer a politician is in office, the more power they wield.  The more influence, the more "voice", and that inevitably means that others have less.  Which is a big problem in our government.  The stupidity of voters isn't the only reason for term limits."

        You are right about that, and I think it is the hardest part of the problem to solve. But... I think term limits are like 'that magic diet pill' - we want the results without having to do the work.

        I can see limits on consecutive terms as a choice that would not be as restrictive to people's right to choose.

        GA

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

          Yes, that might work.  Serve two terms, but then not again for an additional two terms.  Or something along those lines.

          It still leaves it open to buddies supporting the requests of the one temporarily out of the picture, but it's better than nothing.

    2. rhamson profile image78
      rhamsonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

      I must admit when I first saw this I thought to myself had I forgotten that I posted it. LOL

      "The call for term limits for elected officials stinks."

      The last part of limiting the choices was a little murky on my part. What I meant by it was to get the repeat offenders out of the process. Offenders meaning those that entrench themselves in selfish aspirations of greed and service in the task put upon them. They would be those who have been in for twelve years or more.

      "And publicly financed campaigns... The devil is really in the details on this one. How much? Who gets it?"

      Once term limits could be enacted that same Congress would have a clearing house to discuss campaign financing and lobby reform that would assure no voice outweighs the other.Public funds would be allocated to those who gather more support than others on petitions. The Federal Government would release funds commensurate with their totals to each Candidate. No outside funding if the NEW CONGRESS would enact it. This of course would change slowly as the ones with less than twelve years would still have influence on the freshmen congressmen.

      "Lobby reform? Legal lobbying has already been reformed. Take a look at the hoops, declarations, and restrictions lobbyists are already subject to. It is not the lobbyist that need reforming."

      Wow! Do you think the Citizens United was a positive step in lobby reform that did not change the whole scene. Super Pac's can collect and distribute funding where ever they want regardless of their affect on the running and disposition of the country? They can BUY anybody that wants to be re-elected is a reform? The laws may state one thing but the lawyers (that are mostly our representatives) have worked around that. Except for a few that get caught.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        Can't agree with you on the method of financing campaigns.

        Gathering signatures takes money - it is a form of campaign in and of itself - and setting a procedure such as you propose will make that immensely more true.  Private "campaign" funds are necessary, then, to convince people to sign the petition, whereupon they suddenly have more funds in almost direct proportion to how much they've already spent.  Whereupon we're right back to where we started, but with taxpayers footing the bill.

        1. rhamson profile image78
          rhamsonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

          Grass roots is where it has to begin. Any outside money allowed buys the favor of the candidate down the road. Perhaps some assistance could be given to start ups to buy advertising and television time. It could also be required of the networks on an equal basis to help the campaigns with air time and production facilities to acquire the signature levels required for more money. Let's make the candidate work for his position rather than get the freebees where someone else gets their ear and positions in the administrations as well.

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

            You mean public funds for the campaign to gather signatures?  How do you determine is an honest candidate and who just wants a free ride?

            As far as requiring businesses to support anyone that wants free air time, ostensibly to run an election campaign, it's hard to imagine a much worse action to take.  Our businesses aren't there to provide free services to political wannabe's and requiring them to do so would be like requiring you to contribute your time and money to J. Bush's efforts.  Or Trump's.

            1. rhamson profile image78
              rhamsonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

              "You mean public funds for the campaign to gather signatures?"

              Sure you could. It would not be an award of a million dollars off the bat but graduated amounts could be worked out as the candidate progressed.

              "As far as requiring businesses to support anyone that wants free air time, ostensibly to run an election campaign, it's hard to imagine a much worse action to take."

              As a part of renewals of broadcasting licenses television stations are already required to make broadcast time available for community activities. It is no real stretch for them to include campaign air time as well. Maybe it would not and should not be the gluttonous expenditures you see now but it also could be managed.

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

                But you never said how you would distinguish a real candidate from someone just wanting a free ride.  Giving them a month's worth of funds isn't the answer as far as I'm concerned.

                Not in my area they don't.  The only one that puts anything but emergency alerts on is the local PBS station.  None of the networks do.

                1. rhamson profile image78
                  rhamsonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

                  Getting a minimum of signatures on their own would be the start. Someone who wanted to serve could easily fill this requirement.

                  They are required to provide time here and it could be done easily everywhere. Once again you need to lose the slime bags to make this a reality. I could come up with a thousand reasons it won't work as well. But it should be a matter of can do and not can't bother to do it.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 19 months ago in reply to this

                    I like to think you're right - that it can be done.  But as has already been pointed out, the devil is in the details.

                    Personally, I disagree with the notion that any business is required to provide services to anyone for free.  But that's just me.

      2. GA Anderson profile image85
        GA Andersonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

        Regarding term limits...
        Wouldn't that be restricting the people's choice to pick their representative?
        Even if that representative was a scumbag or scoundrel - he/she would still be there by the choice of the people.

        Obviously I don't like the cop-out of term limit restrictions. But given the nature of the obvious problems that drive you to desire them, I could see a compromise of two consecutive terms and then at least a one term break.

        Your description of public campaign financing holds a whole host of problems for me.

        What if I don't want any of my tax dollars supporting the election efforts of a candidate I really disagree with?
        Wouldn't it also mean the end of grassroots candidates? An unknown that would be a great representative wouldn't have a chance if there were no constituent pressure to get him considered by a party. Isn't that the same as restricting the choices of the people in favor of party or government determination of who can be a viable candidate?

        Also consider the slippery slope of defining where to turn the screws. Of course your scenario eliminates PACs, but would you also restrict the soccer mom that has bake sales to organize and pay for like-minded voter bus trips to support their candidate? Could that soccer mom even place a notice in the local paper, (or press), inviting others to join her?

        How can you have an equitable public campaign financing structure that doesn't muzzle citizens?

        I will drag that point to the next - lobby reform - because I think you are mixing the two. At least your reference to Citizens United makes me think so. It sounds like it is not lobbyists that you have a problem with, it is the influence bought by outside money from PACs, Super PACs, and disguised big-money donations. which I think falls into the campaign finance reform category, not lobbyists.

        I think that legitimate lobbyists are already regulated enough. So how would you restrict the big-money influences without also restricting the average citizen's rights?

        I do agree that big-money is able to buy too much influence. As you said, (I think you said it), Big-Money drowns out the voice of the people, but I don't think that is the problem that needs to be solved. I think it is the sellers of the influence that need to be the focus.

        More transparency and stricter campaign finance laws enforcement is a better answer. But that brings us back to the problem of needing the Fox to rekey the hen house locks.

        In the end I think your three problems are really just two, and I have too many basic problems with both your suggested solutions. Unfortunately, that does not mean I have any other solutions beyond sunlight and jail bars.

        GA

        1. rhamson profile image78
          rhamsonposted 19 months ago in reply to this

          Thank you for your input. I do appreciate it.

          The picking of limited term candidates is not a restrictive process as the democratic system of electing them would be the same. It is even open to allowing a local scumbag/scoundrel to get in. That is where the beauty of the term limits shines through. If that scumbag/scoundrel is allowed to stay what affect would he have on others? With term limits the natural culling out of this cancer would occur. If another different scumbag/scoundrel is elected again the same process will eliminate them as well. This process would also bring in new ideas and inspiration to get things done for the country to get a second term and not focus on the old patterns of doing nothing because it does not matter towards being re-elected.

          I don't like funding party dominated functions nor the government's support of the two party system but it is an evil we must bear as it is part of the law. You won't get everybody to agree on everything but there has to be an impartial way devoid of the monetary influence and domination of the election process by influential money.

          I don't know or understand how it could mean the end of a grass roots candidate as this would boost the growth of candidates not restricted or competing with huge private donations to drown their candidacy out. More signatures mean more support means more money allocated to their bid for office without beholding to any one donor. If the candidate is of one party or another makes no difference as they would be under the same restrictions and rewards as the other. They would still hold an advantage as their network of party members could gather more signatures in a short amount of time.

          As far as the soccer mom baking cookies to fund a candidate. It might work on a local level, say for a county or board member position. But for a Senate seat or Presidential bid it would not even make a dent in the grand scheme of things.

          "How can you have an equitable public campaign financing structure that doesn't muzzle citizens?"

          I don't understand how you connect the two. Is it your contention that money is the conversation? That outside money is the only way to be heard? If this is the case it is a two edged sword. With the money to express an opinion or policy it also carries with it the desires of the donor to proffer his or her agenda ahead of another's idea or opinion. It is then that Ideas are bought and sold rather than debated and reasoned. You are right that it is a slippery slope in that once you accept money to express an idea or opinion what else is open to purchasing?

          Lobby reform as it stands is a piecemeal of rules and regulations that slips by so many restrictions unnoticed because of the helter skelter oversight it has had for many years. How many times do we hear of some Senator stashing away hundreds of thousands of dollars in a bribery scheme or some gift that was overlooked as not being a gift or real estate or construction labor that is gifted outside the normal avenues of oversight. They are also required to declare these things of their own volition. How screwy is that. List your own bribe!

          I can understand how it seemed that I was mixing up the lobby reform and campaign financing the way I presented it. I am sorry for my inadequacies in making that distinction. The big money influence in campaigns has now made it a billion dollar club to win the Presidency. Obama ushered that in with startling baggage. Wall Street got a gigantic pass and built on their corporate wealth without any significant punishment. Think of it. You can cause the world economy to go to the brink of destruction and not only walk away undisciplined but become even bigger than you were before. This not only reached the Presidency it also extended to many in Congress who have never voted against a bank bill their whole life. That my friend is bought and paid for and will not change without taking the money out of it.

          "needing the Fox to rekey the hen house locks"

          This is what I propose to end by who holds those keys. It should be us and not the lawyers and thieves who are in this for themselves.

          What suggestions do you have that can assure a change in the way money influences the decisions of our government and is not managed by big money contributors?

 
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