The three issues I want to address in this blog are:
- Campaign finance reform
- Income inequality
There is an old saying, "Money is the root of all evil." While money may not cause evil in all circumstances, it certainly can sway some people toward the path of corruption and bad behavior.
Citizens United is a perfect example. This organization, along with our current campaign finance laws, detours our legislators away from their constituents, their challenges, and their needs, in order to cater to big donors. The legislators no longer use their time to legislate nor develop independent ideas. Instead, they use their time to raise funds and listen to ideas from big lobbyists representing the oil and gas industry, the NRA, the food industries, and more.
While both Republican and Democrat are responsible for harboring laws that encourage this behavior, the Republican budget and platform contribute more to today's fiscal problems: millions of kids going hungry, roads crumbling, and a failing educational system.
Billions of dollars are spent each election cycle. These same dollars could feed, educate, and change welfare recipients into taxpayers. If the country would pass a campaign reform amendment to the constitution that provided a reasonable and limited amount to each candidate, then candidates could use their "solicitation" time for actual governance.
Closing tax loopholes would be the next step. When hedge fund managers pay less in taxes than their secretaries, then the system is flawed. If everyone, including corporations, would pay their fair share in taxes, there would be adequate resources for needed government work, social drivers, safety net programs, and innovation. America could fund needed infrastructure, educational needs, and reduce income inequality. The American people must also demand that American companies keep their money in America rather than in foreign tax havens. These changes alone would provide the necessary funds to move this country forward as well as pay down the debt.
Why do Republicans believe that our tax dollars should subsidize large profitable corporations that do not need government assistance, rather than the poor? What I don't understand is why these billionaires don't feel a patriotic duty to support the country that has given them so much. Why don't they see that if you help the less fortunate, everyone wins, not just a few? Why do they resent helping others achieve the American dream?
Currently, the American dream is unattainable for most. The reason why the dream cannot be reached is explained by the refusal to vote on a minimum wage increase. If the minimum wage was raised to $10.10 now and $15 in a few years, the economy would grow dramatically. When wages are increased and jobs are created, millions can become productive citizens.
Income inequality has turned America from being a democratic republic to a plutocracy. Under this system, the wealthiest of the wealthy control everything from elections to education to the work environment. The greed of the Wall Street bankers collapsed the economy in 2008. Yet, only one mid-level manager went to prison. Now in 2015, not much has changed. Republicans believe no regulations should be imposed on the free market regardless of the looming risks.
Unfortunately, government regulations are necessary. Prior to, and since the collapse, industries have proven they are incapable of policing themselves. When Republicans talk about green energy, they aren't talking about the environment, but rather an unregulated banking and corporate system allowed to run amuck. This system is very profitable for a few, but leaves others living paycheck to paycheck.
Currently, the Obama administration has more than five years of job growth, in spite of Republican opposition. Millions more could be put to work fixing our crumbling infrastructure, pursuing renewable energy research, and bringing manufacturing back to America from cheap labor and tax haven countries if there were more support in Congress.
For most Americans, in order for our country to once again thrive, we must get big money out of politics, tax everyone fairly, close the wage gap, and create more good paying jobs.