Today, the Washington Post did a feature story on the polarization of Congressmens net worth versus that of their constituents. They use 1984 as a measuring reference and show that the wealth disparities of members of Congress and their constituents generally reflect the growing inequality of the country at large. Interesting, the Post showed studies that revealed income inequality parallels the political polarization of the Congress.
The average campaign for a House seat is now costing $ 1,400,000. This means you must have means or have friends with means.
Tennessee is a state that is notable for having wealthy politicians. Most everyone we send up there is wealthy. According to 2009 figures Sen. Bob Corker is worth at least 59 million and Sen Alexander 22.5 million. Both Tennessee senators rank high among the wealthiest of the entire Senate. In the House Rep. Diane Black is worth at least 31 million; Rep. Cooper 7.4 million; Rep. Tanner 6.6 million; Rep. Gordon 3 million; Rep. Roe 2.6 million; and Rep. Cohen 2.5 million. These figures do not represent equity in their personal home.
Politics is truly a rich man’s business in Tennessee. In the last couple of decades or less many candidates supported be the Baker Machine here in Tennessee have been excessively wealthy.
Anyone who has drive and good health should end up with a fair nest egg in the post war era. But, that is not what the Post is talking about ! They are talking about the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by those who represent us in this great democracy.
The key question is how much would these rich politicians be worth without the contacts that government association has provided for them ? Some of these people have been in some aspect of government service most of their lives. What would they be worth, if purely private, and without the money-making insights of dealing with those who deal with governments ? So, is government service the fountainhead for individual wealth ?
Although laws may not necessarily broken by the monetizing of our political process, it is still a momentous threat to our democracy. When you have, in state after state, the whole representation dominated by the wealthy class, we know it is a corrupt system, with or without regulatory laws.
Supply side economics or “trickle-down” promoted be Mr. Arthur Laffer and others, is a known failure for America. This ideology has dominated economic thinking and activity since the eighties. Supply side has distorted most everything economic and created damaging bubbles. Now, with all the data available for just this century, you would think there would be no doubters in the failure of supply side. Yet, it lingers because supply side, naturally, serves the philosophy of Wall Street. And Wall Street still owns the political process.
DeTocqueville, in one of his brilliant analysis, discusses results of various economic philosophies and the advantages of not having a top-heavy economy. Among the virtues of America is that we have not practiced a policy of favoritism, until “trickle-down”.
“Trickle-down” says free up the “job creators” i.e. the corporate wealthy and they will take care of everyone else. This has not worked according to theory. The wealth has stayed at the top. Plenty of statistics prove that result. Even had “trickle-down” worked as drawn up it would have been wrong and un-American as it would have necessitated tax and other advantages for a select soci-economic grouping.
You could make the argument that anyone who signed the “no tax pledge” by the Taxpayers Union, does not have the wisdom to serve in Congress and should be promptly voted out of office. You don’t “hog-tie” yourself into a commitment, that many and various exigencies could force you to break. Unknown national emergencies could arise without a warning and all forms of resources would be summoned to deal with the crisis. We are living in a dangerous, unpredictable world, in volatile times. No lock on the future.
The answer to prolific spending by the government is to elect potent and determined leadership to Congress with will power to resist the welfare state. That is where we lost it and where we will have to go back and pick it up.
During the Republican debate, so called, that was sponsored by CNBC, some commentary vilified banks, particularily the large banks. So, one of the questioners, Harwood I believe, asked if these large banks should be broken up. He never received an answer from anyone. We will find leadership when we get an answer to that question and like questions.
It’s barely a news item that the so-called super committee of Congress failed to accomplish anything.
This is a harbinger of the beginning of the end of traditional parties. The parties have become non-functional and irrelevant.
Beginning in the eighties traditional Republicans merged with Wall Street and the corporate world, accepting a minor interest in this political conglomerate. I realize there remains a significant element of so-called Republicans that is a mixture of neo-Birchites, libertarians, and a variety of other ideologues.
The corporate world and Wall Street also own stock in the Democratic Party as well. These interests invested in Democrats heavily in 2008 and continue to purchase equity interest. However, the main thrust of Democrats is the Europeanization of America. Even as we daily watch the demise of the European welfare experiment; the Democrats, in the main, continue to trust in a powerful and paternalistic central government.
So, both parties have lost relevancy.
The traditional parties are shackled be a dependency on select interests that sponsor them, although, these are not necessarily competing interests. It is these dominant select interests and their foot soldiers(politicians) that have squandered our freedoms.
America’s native freedoms must be restored in full. The measuring stick, for these freedoms, is the viability and distinction of the middle class. Some national party will answer this call.