Monday, March 13, 2006

Old Lesson - New Solution

When I was a teenager I would on occasion come in later then my curfew would allow. My parents would promptly ground me, taking away my privilege to go out. They didn’t try to limit who I went out with, where, or limit the time allocated. They saw the root cause of my lateness as being able to go out and not responsible enough to regulate myself.

This came to mind with the recent “Jack Abramoff Scandal” and lobbying in general. Reading pundits and letters to the news, all kinds of ideas on how to “fix” this are proposed. But what is the root cause? Is it money? Is it the special interests? Both fore mentioned, are here to stay. We all have our own interests and each one feels theirs special. No one has pointed out the combination of the ability of Congress to pass whatever law they fancy and the exuberant amount of taxpayer’s money they have at their disposal. Limit their power to make laws and reduce their share of the taxpayers money and you’ll go a long way in discouraging lobbyists. Why do businesses spend millions and other special interest groups lobby? Could it be the return for their money is greater, weather in funds, grants, tax breaks, or even enforcement of ideology in the form of laws.

Some would say that the abuse comes from the need for campaign money. This is partially true, yet the problems public funding would cause greatly reduce the benefits. Some questions that would never be satisfactorily answered are; How much and who gets it? Third, fourth, fifth parties? What organization would control it? The two major parties in control now? Funding would become just as political as it is now if not worse. Examples can be seen in the controlled debates, which resemble infomercials or the redistricting process. It would be naive to think either party would relinquish their control and power.

If we as citizens would be content to allow individuals or small groups to decide what was best for them rather then one huge cookie cutter, we could go along way not only in reducing corruption in the capitol but also in healing the so called “divide” within our country. Time and time again you hear how we get along less as a whole nation, and some long for the “good ole days”. You hear a lot about blue and red states, liberal, conservative, and other conflicts. Could the cause be that it is a winner take all contest, that when we pressure the Federal government to impose our ideologies on others that disagree, we ourselves are creating the conflict. Weather left or right, liberal or conservative, blue or red none have the right to impose their beliefs on others. A small minority with little or no voice sees little difference between an all encompassing democracy and a forceful mob. The only difference is the right to defend ones self against a mob.

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