Thursday, March 1, 2018

Our Horribly Broken Election Process, Part 2 - The First Half Of A Solution

We have never been big fans of any American politician in this blog. We find them either cowardly, stupid, or greedy and often criminals. The list of their transgressions in each of these categories probably numbers in the hundreds when you go back through our previous posts.

Probably their worst trait of all is that they rig the system to make themselves rich, comfortable, and often above the law. They give themselves high pay and great benefits. They are in session in Congress for less than half the year. They are given multi-week vacations that they try to call “recesses.” They find ways to do insider trading on stocks and companies based on non-public information relative to potential and real legislation. And they spend so much time doing this stuff for themselves that they never get around to resolving the major issues facing the American public.

Several days ago we did a post on one particularly egregious abuse of the system by politicians:

Today, rather than do specific examples of abuse, we are proposing a set of basic changes that need to be made to our political processes that hopefully will get people in office that want to focus on resolving the big issues facing Americans today rather than have the existing types of politicians continue to remain in office where their only focus is self enrichment:

1) As we laid out in the post above, one of the first changes we need to make to our political processes involves leftover campaign funds. What should happen is that after a political campaign is over, regardless of whether or not that candidate won or lost, he or she should have no more than six months to liquidate their leftover campaign funds. 

Over that six month period they should be able to pay off any legitimate outstanding debts as a result of the campaign and at the end of the six months, any remaining funds should either be returned to those that donated or the candidate should donate those funds to legitimate charities.

Those paying off of debts should be reasonable and pass the reality check. Those leftover funds should not be paid out to relatives and friends of the candidate just to enrich those that are close to the candidate. Also, as mentioned above, the funds should be liquidated even if the candidate won the election. He or she should start from scratch for the next election from a raising campaign funds perspective. There should be no carry over from one campaign to the next. Such existing carry over helps ensure that useless incumbents always seem to get re-elected since they have such a war chest of funds gathered over the years.

2) Once elected, a winning politician should put their investment portfolios in a blind trust and have no contact with the manager of that blind trust until they are at least one year out of office. Politicians often have secret, insider access to potential legislation that gives them an insider track on lucrative investments. In the private sector, such insider information is often abused and a crime. Inside Congress, such access to insider information is just another easy way to get rich.

Now, some people would say that this was already taken care of under the Obama administration when the STOCK legislation was passed. However, shortly after this legislation was passed, and which much less fanfare, another bill was passed which essentially gutted the enforcement capability of the STOCK law and rendered it toothless. 

Politicians should not be able to get rich off of secret government information. Make them give up control of their investments to a portfolio manager they have no access to while in office and for a time period afterwards in case they know of pending legislation that they could still leverage once out of office.

To see how abusive politicians are of this insider information conduit, go to:

3) No politician should be able to receive campaign funding from anyone who does not have the ability to vote for that politician. For example, someone who is running for Senator from Kansas should not be able to accept campaign funding from someone living in New Hampshire. Someone running for Congress in a Congressional district in Utah should not be allowed to accept campaign funding from someone living in Oregon.

Very rich people and organizations have a lot of money to sway elections even though they don't reside where those politicians live. This distorts the election process and deprives local citizens the right to fairly select the candidates they want to serve them. If you cannot vote for a candidate, you should not be able to fund a candidate.

4) Speaking of funding, the only entities that should be able to fund a candidate’s campaign are private citizens. PACs, unions, corporations, trade organizations, etc. should not be able to fund and in many cases unfairly sway elections away from local citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee freedom of speech to individuals, they do not guarantee freedom of speech to organizations.

5) If an elected member of Congress or the Presidency has a net worth of over $3 million, he or she should not be able to receive a salary or benefits at the expense of the American taxpayer. Many, many people in Congress are multi-millionaires, they do not need to draw a salary of $174,000 or so a year or receive extensive benefits, they can afford them without being a drain on the Treasury.

We have a $20 TRILLION national debt, denying ultra rich Washington politicians a salary and benefits will not cure that $20 TRILLION national debt but symbolically at least it would show that they are serious about getting out of control government spending under control.

6) Many current Washington politicians have been in office for decades and have presided over the worst performing government in our history. Despite over spending their revenue streams by trillions and trillions of dollars, they have been unable to resolve any of the major issues of our times. They have allowed the Federal government bureaucracy to grow like a cancer and become totally ineffective in serving the American people.

Which leads to a dire need for term limits. “One and done” should be the Washington creed. No decades long residency in Congress where the only thing that incumbent members of Congress do is enrich themselves and take long vacations. 

Because really, seriously ask yourself: given the ineptness of today’s Washington politicians, how much worse could it get if they all got thrown out of office because of term limits and we started with a clean slate of people? At least then we might have a fighting chance to get something, anything resolved.

That will do it for today’s recommendations to fix what is broken in our political processes. The second half of our recommended changes will follow shortly.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

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