Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Suggestion to Save Our Democracy

As I watch the uber-rich buying our elections, I'm not sure which is more disheartening: The death of our democracy or watching half the country cheer it on because they think it results in their side winning. Truly, party before country.

It used to be that extremely rich people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, amassed huge fortunes (sometimes ill begotten) but then, in an American tradition, gave most of it back in philanthropy. Now with Citizens United and the Supreme Court equating spending unlimited sums of money to buy elections as free speech, we have a new breed of rich people like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson who instead of giving away money to help others, have decided to flood money into the political arena and hand pick our leaders thus subverting our democracy.
I have an idea how we can turn the Citizen United ruling around and use it to stop this political whoring. If we gather together 10 million regular folks that care enough about their country to each pledge $100 into a $1 billion kitty (they would only need to send in $10 and pledge the other $90) that is managed by a fairly non-partisan person with high integrity (like John Huntsman?) who has the duty to 110% counter-balance the ledger of giant political contributions (say over $1 million). So, if for instance, a Sheldon Adelson or a George Soros gives $10 million to buy a political campaign, our group would give $11 million to the other side. This would bring these massive political contributions to an end because they would actually be counter productive since it would result in the other side getting even more money. The fund manager would have the discretion to not make the counter contribution if he thought the contributor was just trying to game the system; such as if George Soros made a $10 million contribution to a conservative cause that he opposes with the idea that it would result in $11 million going to the side he actually favors.

Maybe we could call our group the “ Real Citizens United” and we could take back our democracy. If this works in elections, we could eventually expand this idea into countering the lobbying money spent to buy our elected representatives and effectively remove the influence of big money from our political process.

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