The Best Government Money Can Buy
The latest federal budget debate reconfirms what most of us already know: that many politicians are more responsive to corporate lobbyists and campaign dollars than to the needs of the American people.
The web site opensecrets.org shows how many millions upon millions of dollars members of Congress receive in campaign funds from corporate Political Action Committees. In the recent budget battle, you can clearly see the effects these campaign contributions have on our lawmakers. It’s no wonder they’re proposing to cut or eliminate corporate taxes altogether.
After receiving campaign contributions of $21 million from the health insurance industry, $6 million from HMOs and $15 million from the pharmaceutical industry, members of Congress promised to stop all funding for health care reform, so health insurance companies can continue to deny you insurance due to a pre-existing condition or drop you as soon as you have serious health problems.
After getting $17 million in campaign contributions from the credit card industry, they fought to put provisions in the budget to stop funding for consumer protection agencies that protect us from excessive penalties, fees and interest rate increases charged by credit card companies.
After getting over $20 million from big industrial polluters, they tried putting provisions into the budget bill to prevent the EPA from enforcing laws to stop companies from polluting our air and our drinking water. Generally, the Environmental Protection Agency would be prohibited from protecting the environment.
These are just some of the powerful special interests with big money behind them, that managed to get special riders put into the budget bill to benefit their particular industry.
But millions of senior citizens, people with health problems, and people who are unemployed due to the recession, don’t have lobbyists and don’t have much money to contribute to political campaigns. They have no wealth and no power. So, according to Nobel prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, Republicans are now proposing to cut about $3 trillion over ten years from programs that help the poor, the unemployed, the sick, and the elderly. But that $3 trillion in cuts won’t reduce the deficit one penny because they are also giving $3 trillion in new tax cuts that go only to the very wealthy.
So they’re proposing to take benefits away from the most truly needy people in our society in order to give trillions of dollars to the wealthiest Americans. In every possible sense, many in Congress are actively trying to steal from the poor, the middle class, and even the moderately well-to-do and giving to the very rich and powerful.
And it will remain this way until we enact some kind of meaningful campaign finance reform.
Far from being a “nanny state” as Republicans claim, too many people in our government work for the highest bidder. More than ever, they protect the wealthy and the powerful instead of looking out for the people who need help the most.