Monday, April 18, 2016

$607 million to 2,300 super PACs...

,,,And 41% of that comes from just 50 people. And that is just for the 2016 campaign cycle.

This is according to the Washington Post article linked to here.

That this is a ridiculously obscene number goes without question. The real question, however, is whether it is reasonable to expect that money can ever be kept out of politics simply by passing a law; assuming of course that even that hurdle could be accommodated.

That we've gotten to the point where spending as one deems appropriate has been made equivalent to free speech would seem to argue for pessimism on this point, however dubious one views this association (a view which I certainly share). And the pessimism would be well founded if an amendment to the constitution would have to be submitted, and passed, in order to make curbing such "speech" possible.

I can't help but look beyond that immediate impediment, however, and ask the more fundamental question about how money, and government, are now in so much of a symbiotic relationship. In that context, even if an amendment to the constitution weren't required, and ordinary federal legislation could be drafted to put real curbs on campaign spending, would that eliminate the influence of "Big Money?"

It certainly might slow it down for a while but I have to wonder, ultimately, if it would just force those who must have such influence, in some way, to simply be more creative in finding another way to insure their access to it. Certainly the history of how legislation of various sorts, enacted to curb abuses of the powerful, is rife with instances of it being subverted at every turn in its creation, implementation, and regulation; the idea being that, if you can't stop the law work to make either its language vague, and/or its enforcement problematic, and we all know there are many ways to do that. Just consider how long anti monopoly legislation has been in place and then look at how much concentration of market share has occurred in spite of that. Whatever the rules were meant to be at the start, they can be reinterpreted by the enforcement bodies, and the funding for same can be whittled away at over time so that the regulator is all but impotent. All of which is a time honored tradition in Washington.

And even if the usual suspects in corrupting a law weren't successful you still have to wonder at how possible it would be for "Big Money" to just roll over and go quietly into that good night. In an ever hyper competitive world where every cost can be a make or break, not to mention a world where ever increasing "uncertainty" makes having an accumulated cushion of wealth mandatory, do you really think they'd just take it on the chin? Might they even consider disinvestment in total, however slowly; taking their money elsewhere? They certainly haven't had any compunctions about doing that on the state level, and we've already seen how where you base your company, or companies, at can allow the avoidance of earnings taxation.

The fact of the matter is this: Not only the government in a symbiotic relationship here with "Big Money," working America is too, and in that do they wield a pretty big stick when they want to. And I doubt that a "Nuclear" option, as far as disinvestment goes in total, would be all that desirable, or palatable, to them, but if really pushed to the wall? If they were really made to be socially responsible across the board of issues that ultimately end up costing them money, and/or power? You really think they wouldn't do whatever they felt was necessary?

The bottom line here is that real change will never happen to any degree of effective certainty until we change the game itself. Only then can we take that stick away from them. And make no mistake. That change will require a great deal of effort, and sacrifice to effect, but never forget. We have a pretty big stick as well. No matter how much money and power they have it means nothing if we make up our minds to not play their game any more. After all, how much can any currency be worth if the majority of us simply refuse to abide by currencies at all?

Think about it. And I mean all of it. Think about what playing along with the game of currencies has cost us all. Is it really worth it to continue?

The new Gilded Age: Close to half of all super-PAC money comes from 50 donors