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Author Topic: Thank You Citizens United
Fenring
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http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/230318-the-5-billion-campaign

Take a look at the campaign cost numbers for the coming 2016 election. Compare those to the amounts spent in the Bush vs Kerry election, and then even in Obama's two elections. We can all rest easy knowing that the 2010 Citizens United ruling made everything better for America.

Then again perhaps CU isn't the main culprit, but if it isn't, what is? The campaign finance numbers have become bloated beyond belief. The odds of someone not part of the financial in-club standing toe to toe against these superpowers becomes lower every election.

An idealist might say that as people wake up to this reality perhaps that will offset the budget gap between those groomed from above for the role versus others who wish to run. Is this a realistic hope?

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Fenring
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I'll add a NYT article about the FEC and its chair, Ann M. Ravel.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/us/politics/fec-cant-curb-2016-election-abuse-commission-chief-says.html?_r=0

Here's what Ravel has to say about this election:

quote:
“The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim,” Ann M. Ravel, the chairwoman, said in an interview. “I never want to give up, but I’m not under any illusions. People think the F.E.C. is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional.”

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philnotfil
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The good news is that all of that money is going to get spent and circulated, what a brilliant form of stimulus [Smile]
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Rafi
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And who gets that brilliant stimulus? Who benefits from all that good news?

I suggest that the ever increasing costs, over a billion to buy the presidency now, is a intentional barrier erected to insure only approved members of the ruling elite can have any realistic chance to enter the political power structure of America. Coupled with the creation is 'safe' districts for the lower rungs of the parties, we see a locked and tightly controlled landscape.

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DonaldD
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I believe philnotfil was employing 'irony'.

I can't remember anybody here seriously supporting the Citizens United ruling, but I could be wrong. Maybe this is the topic that will bring all of Ornery together as one, with sunshine and unicorns farting out rainbows.

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Fenring
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Maybe we should cut to the chase and have The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. run for President with Citigroup Inc. as the running mate.
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D.W.
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I propose a 50% tax going directly to education on all campaign funds raised. If you don't opt for public funding, you end up funding the public. Let them raise rediculous amounts of cash as long as half of their efforts actually do a little good.

Maybe higher than 50%?

[ May 04, 2015, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Greg Davidson
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My recommendation is a progressive tax on citizens for political contributions. No taxes on average amount of political contributions spent by US households at the 80% percentile for income (I imagine that's less than $1000, but I don't have data to support that guess), and going steeply progressive after that. And since corporations only get to spend political contributions in their role as citizens, every corporation faces the same tax rate as the rest of us citizens.
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Fenring
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The problem is that the total revenue for the elections is very small contrasted with the U.S. budget, even though the numbers are at a record high. You can tax it 50%+ but that amount won't help much in offsetting federal spending deficits, even though it's true it would lower the effectiveness of the contributions. But halving the effectiveness of contributions would only incentivize making larger contributions over time.

It's really amazing that 'small' numbers in contributions from a single source, such as $1-25 million, will result in favorable legislation, secret contracts, and favoritism that results in contracts for hundreds of millions or billions. In other words, with potential windfalls of this magnitude for owning political candidates, having to shell out a few million extra at the onset due to a contribution taxation wouldn't dissuade them.

This is part of the general problem of scope, which is that the average income of individuals is puny contrasted with that of general election campaigns, which in turn is puny compared to the net worth of the very wealthy (this particular point is why it's so easy for the very wealthy to run for office), which in turn is puny compared to the operating budgets and profits of megacorps, which in turn is puny compared to the U.S. budget. Each of these entries is probably an order of magnitude greater than the last, which makes the whole thing so skewed to even discuss. Altering the tax code for the 2nd smallest item in this list would be a trivial change compared to the monies involved in big business, banking, and government.

I think a flat 50% tax would therefore achieve little. Perhaps a non-linear progressive tax that begins to increase steeply once it goes over $5 million or something? And yet I fear even something like this would only encourage dispersal of the sources of the donations, but would not reduce the total amount of donations.

My personal preference quite honestly is in line with what Bernie Sanders advocates, which is completely publicly funded elections with a simply budget cap per candidate and that's it. Make use of the money the best you can. I'd even be satisfied if private donors could contribute unlimited amounts to this public fund, to be distributed evenly among all 'finalist' candidates (however that's determined).

[ May 08, 2015, 11:20 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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kmbboots
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I think we need to approach the problem from the demand side. Make elections cheap. Free air time, limited paid air time. Stuff to work out but a different place to start
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The Drake
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Blame the electorate or blame the funding? To me, the tragedy is that We the People in whole are swayed by the sixty second spots, not that they can be funded in a variety of ways.
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LetterRip
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The Drake,

it isn't the electorates fault. It is fundamentally not worthwhile to invest time in becoming an informed electorate. Your decision on where to eat lunch will have a greater potential impact on your life. Since your vote is essentially meaningless.

We should only elect personal proxys, and then those proxys in turn elect proxys, etc. till some level of proxys have sufficiently concentrated voting power to have it make sense to actually get informed about candidates.

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