Being born and raised on Chicago’s South Side had given me a distorted perspective of politics early on. I remember being at Grandma’s house on Washtenaw and 32nd and observing her alderman come up to ask, “Did you vote today Mary?” Grandma responded affirmatively and then I would observe money pass between them as they shook hands. Busha would say “that’s a easy five dollars.” I remember being at my Grandpa’s bakery on 52nd and Wood where every Monday morning, a bag with a couple of sweet rolls and a loaf of rye bread would be placed on the counter over a $10 bill that would eventually be picked up by the neighborhood beat cop. I always thought these exchanges were acts of gratitude and I still want to believe that but reality tells me it was politics as usual.
Today I live in Denver after spending 37 years in Phoenix. I don’t know any of that today. Maybe it still exists but I don’t think it’s as blatant as it was in the 50’s. Except of course in Washington.
Let’s begin with subsidies. Tobacco subsidies in the United States totaled $1.1 billion from 1995-2010. If you check out the link, which states get the most… red or blue states? How about today where even with record profits, oil companies are subsidized. How many industries are favored? I don’t know… why are any industries subsidized, if we believe in a free market? Check out my “Know Your Lawmakers” page. You’ll be able to track your congressional and state representatives’ records in handing out favors… subsidies. Would it be right to assume supporting a subsidy is a payback?
How about personal subsidies? I talked about this before. The tax code has over nine million words to describe special interest tax deductions. Most of us claim charitable contributions, mortgage, and health care costs. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Time to simplify.
And one last way politicians grease their campaigns… the old fashion way… directly by donating money to their campaign funds. I’m not talking about thousands but hundreds of thousands… and even millions are no longer a rarity. A far cry from getting a couple of bucks if you voted right. Our Supreme (?) Court made it legal in 2010. In a 5–4 split decision, the Court decided that portions of McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA” §203 violated the First Amendment. And that opened the flood gates we are know experiencing this election year. And it’s going to get worse. Are you ready for it? Are you going to do anything about it?
Final words —
“I have a dream” – - – Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)
“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.” – - – Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004), U.S. Republican politician, president.
“With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies… I think it’s time they got by without help from taxpayers.” – - – President Barack Obama (August 4, 1961 – ), 44th President of the United States