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Buying Votes By Selling Public Office (07/26/2011)

Do you believe too much money is perverting politics? Do you believe too much politics is perverting money? If you hold one of these beliefs but not the other what makes you think either can be fixed?

Why do citizens and corporations keep donating increasing amounts of money to candidates for public office? Could it be because officeholders keep dishing out increasing amounts of public money to citizens and corporations? How effective has it been trying to institute controls on the former while breaching all limits on the latter?

What percent of the national economy do you think is appropriate to funnel through the hands of 535 Congressmen plus one President? If government spending today represents more than one of every three dollars of our Gross Domestic Product, up from one of four in 1960, on its way to reaching one of two within a generation, how compelling does it become for those 536 professional politicians to sell their offices?

When 51% of the people pay zero or negative income taxes how many millions of them can you get to pony up modest donations to support progressive politicians that promise to defend the status quo? When 5% of earners pay 60% of income taxes how fat a campaign check does it pay them to write to support tea-party politicians that promise no new taxes?

When one half of Americans receive a monthly check from the government made up of money taken from the other half who else but a halfwit thinks politics can be anything but polarized? In what imaginary universe can such a fundamental conflict of interests be settled by compromise?

What makes accumulating power over the economy by selling your office to campaign donors an everyday occurrence, while misappropriating those donations to prop up your personal lifestyle is a scandal? After all, how much money can a politician possibly pocket compared to the pork he can pump into partisan purses? Do you think government spending might go down if we let Congressmen steal as much as they want provided they retire after two terms?

If unlimited amounts of money can be borrowed from tomorrow's voters to buy elections by bribing today's voters is it any wonder that the federal debt has climbed from 42% of GDP in 1980 to 100% of GDP today? If politicians have the power to print unlimited amounts of money to monetize that debt, what secret knowledge prompts bond buyers to bet that they won't? And why is investing in a rare and precious metal that has held its value for centuries called speculation while it's called prudent to invest in a river of government debt destined to be debauched?

How come advocating the most extreme separation of church and state earns approving nods from the media while advocating even a minimal separation of economy and state draws accusations of extremism? Does it make you wonder who pays that piper? If it costs a billion dollars to run for president, where does all that money go? How come you rarely see stories about who profits from this slush Niagara as you are carpet bombed by campaign ads? Who stands to lose if the cost of running for office plunges?

As the primary purpose of power in a democracy becomes the redistribution of wealth is it so unnatural that the primary purpose of wealth in a democracy becomes the purchasing of power? If purchasers get their money's worth what becomes of equality before the law? If purchasers don't get their money's worth how long before their money decamps for more hospitable climes?

Why do you think the founders only granted our federal government a constitutionally limited list of strictly enumerated powers? Who would be motivated to shower campaign donations on politicians if they could only pass laws that abided by that list? Why are advocates of strict constitutional construction mocked as fools and knaves while pundits promoting fiscal plunder bask in plaudits?

As the wheels come off the runaway spending train in Washington, what magic will help the American people escape the tragedy we've brought upon ourselves? Or is there still time to rekindle the culture that made our country a fabled land of independence, self reliance, and responsibility?

How and when will you make your stand?