quote: No corporation should be allowed to contribute to politics, directly or indirectly.
quote: Inequality based on finances goes against everything our political system was founded on.
quote: And you're basing this opinion on what exactly?
quote: LOL you mean a system set up by rich white land owners? Our Government was founded on freedom, but equality? Sorry that's wrong.
quote: Personally I think the Founding Fathers would be rather horrified at the monstrosity the federal government and its officials have become.
quote: In my opinion, it is the lack of direct involvement of the employees that makes corporate lobbying look like corporations are paying for laws.
quote: Also, if I could summarize the above, I think the voice of the many needs to finally be louder than the voice of the privileged few.
quote: As much as possible, big money needs to be taken out of politics, especially campaigning.
quote: If an employee doesn't like that their employer lobbies for something, they make a value judgement. Is the employment worth the moral/value cost?
quote: I believe the voice of the many is infinitely louder today. Unfortunately that voice is all to often left unspoken.
quote: I'd be more inclined to allow unlimited money, with 100% disclosure. If Candidate Z is John Doe's puppet, that's fine by me as long as the voters know they're voting for John Doe's agenda and Candidate Z's face.
quote: I think this is true in an ideal world where one could quit an start a new job without financial penalty, but few people are willing to risk their family's financial well-being. The barrier to opposing your employer's lobbying efforts (eg. leaving your job) is currently much higher than it would in an alternate system where only independent citizens could lobby on behalf of an industry (eg. volunteering outside of work).
quote: This is the unorganized, "have a day job and a family" masses vs. highly paid political lobbyists with their hands in every politician's pocket. It's an unfair fight that and the people are losing badly these days.
quote: Theoretically that is a sound idea, but I would much rather contributions be limited to reasonable amount ($500-$1000) and the temptation removed altogether.
quote: I'd rather see funding operate more like voting. Give every citizen a $100 income tax credit if they donate $100 to a political campaign of their choice.
quote: I don't dispute that a barrier is present, but I don't see how it is any different than any other employer action you may disagree with. At some point you have to either suck it up for the time being, or get a new job.
quote: The only reason lobbying works, and the only reason citizens would need to protest in the first place is because the government has too much power and too much control.
quote: The fight is fair...
quote: If you have $5000, and I use the power of government for force where you cannot spend it, I've just limited your freedoms.
quote: Limiting the donation amount to $100 is a freedom-limiting action.
quote: People/corporations are free to spend their money on propaganda ladled TV, radio, and newspapers. If they can convince the people to fight for their cause, then good for them. That should be the extent of free speech that money can buy.
quote: My point here is that the power is with the wrong people... the lawyers, the corporation's lobbyists, and the board of directors. The action should be on the people, the employees. It should be independent of corporate money and influence, which may or may not be form a domestic source.
quote: Yes, decrease the size and power of government, but you can also reduce/eliminate corporate lobbying. They are not mutually exclusive. I'd be happy to see both happen simultaneously.
quote: It really isn't. There is an army of full time, well funded lobbyists whispering in the ears of every politician they can find. Who is representing the people? Not the lobbyists and not the politicians once they've accepted all of their contributions.
quote: A limit on political contributions is merely a limit on legalized bribery - unless you think bribery is a legitimate form of free speech (and unfortunately it seems the Supreme Court ruled it as such).
quote: So by limiting contributions maybe some people lose their "freedom" to individually dictate government policy
quote: Sorry, I wasn't clear. I didn't mean that they should limit to $100, I mean they when you give a political donation, you get a tax credit on your income tax for that year.
quote: The power to lobby on a corporation's behalf lies squarely where it should - in the hands of the shareholders.
quote: If you reduce the size/power of the government, it makes corporate lobbying irrelevant.
quote: How is that any different than giving the money to a campaign or a PAC?
quote: No individual is dictating government policy! Come on now.
quote: I reject the premise that campaign contributions are bribery
quote: I contend that the issue isn't lobbying. Not at all. We *all* should have the rights to lobby our elected officials, and we should exercise that right. The issue is the size, scope, and power of the government. If we didn't tax everything, regulate everything, and subsidize everything it wouldn't matter if Solyndra wanted at $500M check from the Feds. The problem is that we've given the politicians an inch, and they take a mile. And the fools we are, we go back and give them another inch. We've been doing this for 200 years.If you want to decrease corruption (you'll never eliminate it), vote out the people who keep abusing the power we've given them. Vote out the people who keep providing handouts to others with your money. Vote out people who continually expand the size/scope of government.
quote: Bingo. People keep falling for the progressive shell game of demonizing lobbying and big corporations, while in the meantime grossly ballooning the size, power, and debt of the Government. And they actually support this tactic!Because of simple economic scaling, the larger the Government the larger the lobbying. Also the more centralized a Government, the easier to influence. It's a lot easier to lobby a Senator or two than 50 separate State legislatures or thousands of townships isn't it?But no, people like Mick and Obama will just hammer the private sector, hammer Capitalism, and hammer Corporations while offering us a fix that's more of the problem. A big fat Government cure for everything.
quote: Whoa deep breathes, please do not compare me to Obama or suggest our ideology is similar.
quote: Obama is a huge supporter of corporate pork and lobbying. He accepted a record $800M USD in contributions, roughly 50 percent from large donors -- PACs (unions, corporations) and directly corporate donations.
quote: collectivist ideals mixed with my general fiscal conservatism and social liberalism
quote: Jason all you do is hammer Capitalism. What am I to think? You write articles demonizing companies for not paying as much taxes as possible, even though it's legal. You classify lobbying as bribery and accuse the "rich" of forming a shadow Government that runs the country. I mean I'm not trying to offend you, but I see some serious parallels here in the rhetoric.On this issue what's so dangerous is that you've removed all personal accountability from the politicians, those who took an oath to the Constitution and country, and framed the argument so that the Corporations are solely at fault. And this is a theme you reinforce over and over and over again.
quote: My beef with attempting to limit lobbying is that the devil's in the details. If 5 of us band together and call, write, tweet to our Congressman should that be illegal? What if that number is 500? 5,000? 500,000? I contend the answer to all of those is no, as that would be a limit on our freedom.So what if we want to pool our resources and buy a radio ad or maybe a spot on a billboard to endorse a candidate? Or even a position on a particular issue? I see no reason to limit your and my right to express our views to our fellow citizens. If we do limit, where's the line? I think we'd all agree that my group of 5,000 like-minded citizens has the right to assemble at the steps of the Capitol to wave signs, hoot/holler, and voice our opinions. What's the fundamental difference between speaking and buying airtime? Or space in a newspaper, etc.
quote: And if a group of like minded citizens can do that, why can't a corporation? A corporation is, by definition a group of like-minded individuals. Before someone jumps down my throat on this point, I will clarify that the only criteria I'm using is that they all have a vested interest in the company growing and making money. After all, that's a corporation's sole purpose for existence. And so limiting a corporation's ability to fight for itself is nothing more than limiting individuals' right to fight for themselves.
quote: If you want to decrease corruption (you'll never eliminate it), vote out the people who keep abusing the power we've given them. Vote out the people who keep providing handouts to others with your money. Vote out people who continually expand the size/scope of government.
quote: I agree with your assessment that the devil is in the details, however, if you read carefully I never suggested any number of INDIVIDUAL contributions should be disallowed. I merely suggested that any trade union or company should not be allowed to contribute or form PACs. If citizens want to band together and give individual contributions, that's fine.
quote: Corporations have more power than the government
quote: Your lopsided illogical idiocy is showing in flying colors.
quote: [...]I never suggested any number of INDIVIDUAL contributions should be disallowed. I merely suggested that any trade union or company should not be allowed to contribute or form PACs. If citizens want to band together and give individual contributions, that's fine.
quote: An interesting debate, but I feel that voting and political funding should require individual participation versus group decision making.
quote: Likewise, there's no need for "like-minded individuals" within a corporation to pool funding to advertise for a candidate. If these individuals really believed in what the company says they do, they would simply individually contribute. [...] to claim that pooling is necessary to get people to contribute is silly in my opinion.
quote: Kind of hard when corruption breeds profits, corporations are designed to maximize profits and corporations are controlling federal policy via lobbying. That's a closed loop.
quote: Federal officials are elected, in most cases, by the amount of ad-time/media-coverage they receive, which in turn is a reflection on the amount of pork they give out.
quote: It is possible to break such a grip, but the issue is that when both candidates from the two "ruling parties" are accepting cash for pork, it's very hard to organize grassroots support for an honest third party candidate (trust me, I've tried).
quote: A well argued position. Unfortunately it is based upon a misunderstanding. Lobbying is not representation.
quote: Politicians are elected to represent the constituents who elected them not the companies that lobby them.
quote: Can anybody seriously claim that the USA is functioning as it was intended and ought to be? Lobbying is a symptom of the decay of the system. It is not the root cause.
quote: But please, do tell me Reclaimer: why oh why should Americans welcome the corporate takeover of our political system with open arms?
quote: First thing on the agenda should really be to reverse the idiotic decision to grant corporations the same legal status as individual citizens...
quote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
quote: Don't be stupid and point the finger at only Apple. Apple is just one of many companies with the ability to make a PAC. PAC's in general should be illegal, as people should vote, write their congressmen, etc... No corporation should be allowed to contribute to politics, directly or indirectly. This is America - our political system is not supposed to be bought and sold.I am aware that not all PACs are related to corporations, but look at this list:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_act...Over 50% of it consists of corporations. Notice how certain CEOs get face time with politicians? It's because they and their PACs contribute far more than the $100 a year us Joe Schmoes can't afford to part with when we donate to a campaign. Inequality based on finances goes against everything our political system was founded on.
quote: Except without lobbying you end up with fascism. You have a pretty convenient view on what "freedom of speech" is, Jason.
quote: Except without lobbying you end up with fascism. You have a pretty convenient view on what "freedom of speech" is, Jason.If you remove lobbying from a political system then the elected officials exist in a vacuum with no information coming from outside sources. Remember charities and NGO's also lobby government (as well as the churches, mosques, temples, big pharma, little pharma, oil, mothers for this or that, fathers for other stuff, governments for war, governments for peace.... this list is endless).
quote: The problem isn't lobbying. It's corrupt elected officials who at best accept bribes/payment to fund an overly expensive electioneering machine. The problem is that lobbying happens with no public over site and now accountability.The problem is more complex than just removing lobbying. Do you really want government making decisions without asking companies advice? The same companies that the government expects to implement strategies?
quote: Say for example the USA predicts a 20% increase in crude oil use over the next 10 years. Where the refineries should go, where the oil is best sourced, how the petrol products are best distributed are all important questions that the oil industry is well placed to help answer. Not dictate of course but their opinion should matter.Without lobbying you put all the power and decision making solely in the hands of a large centralized Government. I guess that sounds like a better deal to you
quote: Every fascist state in history to my knowledge has been formed by some combination of corporate and/or union interference in government, combined with rampant nationalism.
quote: What? Why can't they figure out on their own what benefits the majority of CITIZENS who they supposedly are representing??
quote: Free speech is not a large organization giving money to a candidate or telling their employees how to vote. Again, that is a large organization -- be it a trade union or corporation -- EMPLOYING a politician. Employment is not free speech, as you are often forced to do many things that go against your feelings of what is best or right.
quote: Okay, but if this is in the nation's best interests, what's stopping the politicians from consulting these industry officials WITHOUT lobbyist money?
quote: Free speech is not a large organization giving money to a candidate or telling their employees how to vote.
quote: Employment is not free speech, as you are often forced to do many things that go against your feelings of what is best or right.
quote: You make it sound like employers routinely put guns to their employees heads and threaten to blow their brains out if they don't do exactly what they're told.
quote: When an employer tells you that you're about to be dumped, and your severance pay will be given out only if you train the new off shore person how to do your job, and there's a very low likelihood your can even find any other comparible job, then virtually that's exactly what the employer is doing.