Letter: Political system needs to change
To the editor,
A torrent of money flowed into this election, exceeding $1 billion by most estimates, and fueled by the super-rich and corporate donors. It cast a very dark shadow. It inundated us with nasty, negative attack ads.
It made a mockery of individual campaign donation limits, and enforced the notion that outside groups can operate independently of the candidates. This money was intended to have an influential impact on congressional elections, state and local elections, judicial races, and even county board seats, across the country. The post-Citizens United environment is intent upon consolidating a financial oligarchy in our country; another Gilded Age, with plutocracy.
Post-election, the people have made their voices heard, through their votes, and it is clear the massive spending made far less difference than expected by its donors. Power to the people!
These huge amounts of monies could have, and should have, been put to better use (e.g., humanitarian aid for storm victims; sustainable green power grids; healthcare for all; revamping the education system to the Kahn system.)
Here are some basic actions citizens should urge their elected representatives to implement now
to get our country back on course for the future, and so we can all be successful and productive.
Teach civics classes in our schools again. Democracy works best when citizens understand its processes.
Provide basic money management, starting in grade school.
Implement a mandatory 100 percent graduation rate.
Strongly support and encourage affordable higher education for all, either college or trade school.
Undo Citizens United with a lasting Constitutional amendment. ? ?
Enact Simpson-Bowles. It's not perfect, but it is well-thought out and discussed, and bi-partisan.
Reinstate Glass- Steagall. Ending it helped drive overreaching by the banking industry.
Strengthen Dodd-Frank, which was weakened by partisan politics.
Simplify Obamacare, which was has become too complicated due to partisan politics.
Streamline the tax codes equitably, then enforce them with strict consequences for violators.
Publicly fund all campaigns, with limited and equal candidate allocations, and a short six- to eight week campaign period.
Candidates must stick to the issues, and avoid false charges and unsubstantiated character assassinations.
Establish firm term limits for all elected positions.
Establish a national standardized ballot and process. No more state-controlled voting problems.
No more state-controlled voting; establish a national standardized ballot, and process.
Ban corporate and/or special interest paid lobbyists.
No more filibusters or other manipulations of the processes, by our congressional representatives.
Stress bi-partisanship and compromise always, with emphasis on doing what is best for the masses.
Lastly, understand that government has grown because the country's population has grown (though there are fewer federal employees under Obama).
Understand as well that taxes are the country's income and so we must all pay our proportionate share.
The rates and collection processes can be tweaked (e.g., getting rid of tax loopholes and shelters for the wealthy) but we all benefit greatly from our collective investment, in the many shared and invaluable infrastructures now in place.