Thursday, June 09, 2016

A Proposed Committee to Monitor Political Exploitation by the Wealthy

It would be a good thing if the Clinton campaign offered Sanders and his supporters some concessions. Not for the sake of party unity or winning the November elections. For the good of the country.

I fear, however, that Sanders and his supporters are going to waste time instead on trivial matters of no real-world significance. Like "super-delegates". Clinton obtained no benefit from super-delegates. If the election had been for committed delegates only, the election would be over as of Tuesday. It is only Sanders' potential use of super-delegates to override the popular vote that is keeping options open.

If super-delegates were ever going to take the election from the person who won the most committed delegates it would have been in 2008 when an upstart Barack Obama defeated the established Clinton, who arguably also won the popular vote. If anything needs to be changed, it's the elimination of the caucus system and winner-take-all primaries - and a winner-take-all electoral college - both of which cause significant political distortions.

Anyway, as for something that would actually be useful and benefit the country . . .

It is a fact that there are corporations and individuals who have been using their wealth and influence to rig the political system to transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the very wealthy.

Really, this is possible for any rational person to deny.

As I argued in a previous post, this will not be fixed by overturning "Citizens United." This political issue is a diversion - getting people focused on a meaningless gesture rather than solutions. There are simply too many routes that wealth can take into politics. Block one channel, and money will flow through others.

Furthermore, there is and always will be a diverse set of beliefs in our country. People dreaming of the day that "the people will all wake up and agree to our unqualified brilliance in all things political, which will bring in a golden age" will have to keep dreaming. The rest of us will accept and acknowledge that different people have different beliefs - and that decent people with good intentions without being villains and get to work.

Respecting these facts, perhaps a good place to start is with a regulatory watch-dog. This is an agency charged with finding regulations, interpretations, and government manipulation that aim to identify, publish, and correct manipulation so far the system that most clearly redirects wealth from the middle-class and poor to the wealthy.

We know this is happening. We know that it does not serve the public interest. Therefore, there is reason to set up an agency whose job is to deal with this problem.

Certainly, it, too, will be lobbied by the wealthy to turn a blind eye to government manipulations that benefit certain groups that can afford lobbyists. Similarly, it will seek to have the agency target regulations that serve the public interest but harm its company or organization as bad. However, with this as its only goal, it will need to demonstrate some overall benefit.

This is something that some Republicans can be convinced to buy into. After all, it's goal is to eliminate regulations that distort the free market - regulations that effectively amount to welfare for the wealthy. They cannot easily argue before the voting public that they support those regulations and market distortions.

It can even be billed as something that saves money and cuts the deficit. It will do so because the government will cease to collect billions of dollars from taxpayers that it then puts into the pocket of those who are using their wealth to manipulate the system.

Indeed, there will even be members of the the Tea Party who would see reasons to back such a proposal. After all, the major motivation for founding the Tea Party was anger over a large government handout to the wealthy banks.

In other words, the idea respects the fact that the nation is and always will be made up of people with diverse opinions, respects those opinions, and looks for ways to bring them on board to support policies that promote the public well-being.

It is an organization that those who support Bernie Sanders should not only be able to get behind but to push that it does its job effectively. It is a way of clipping the wings of those corporations and individuals who are using this power to manipulate the system to gain an unfair advantage - specifically targeting those who do the most harm.

In fact, the only people I can see who would be opposed to such an agency are those who might fear losing the money they are receiving through these sorts of government manipulations.

It would require a lot more thought to determine whether such a proposal will actually work. I present it here as an example of the type of thing that the Clinton organization may adopt to appeal to Sanders supporters - not because (or not solely because) it is politically useful, but because it will help the country. It is this type of thing that should dominate negotiations between the Sanders and Clinton camps in the weeks ahead.

No comments: