Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Evils Of Money

Juan Cole continues to complain that “Your Election is being Bought by 47 Billionaires,” which would imply that whoever wins is the wrong guy. He doesn’t mention which “Super Pacs” those billionaires are contributing to, of course, since they are contributing to both sides, which makes it a little difficult to decide which side is the “bad guy.”

His article actually belies his headline a bit, because he goes on to say that, “There are also super pacs funded by corporations, not just individuals! And there are anonymous donors.” And the point of his discussion is that these donors are not merely political ideologues, but are donating money because, “They are expecting something for it.”

Let’s concede, for the sake of discussion, that the election actually is being determined by money from billionaires because that money is all going to one side. What are the implications of that?

A sales transaction can only occur if the sellers find willing buyers. If the rich are providing money in expectation of favors in return, then they are getting those favors from the legislators we elect in return for their money, which is called bribery.

When people in a position of power abuse that power by accepting bribes, we should take out our anger on them for betraying us. We do not do that. We reelect them repeatedly and blame rich people for the misbehavior of the legislators who we elected.

To repeat: we elect these people to represent us; they betray our interests; we blame our misfortune on rich people who paid our representatives to betray us, while reelecting the representatives who betrayed us. The betrayal of our representatives, with whom we have a compact of trust, is not important. The action of rich people, with whom we have no compact or agreement, is what raises our anger.

What never gets blamed are people who see the advertisements on television and base their votes on those meaningless advertisements. Those ads are the product of the money which we claim is “buying our elections.” They are almost always lies, invariably are meaningless tripe, and we still allow those ads to determine our votes. And then we don’t blame ourselves for the parlous state of our governance, we blame the people who bought the ads and, we claim, bought our government.

The problem is not, we claim, voting based on meaningless and dishonest soundbite advertising. The problem is not, we claim, legislators who take money to betray the trust of the people who elected them. The problem, we claim, is the money that bought the ads which determined our votes and the money which corrupted our legislators.

Money is not the problem. We have precisely the government we deserve.

1 comment:

bruce said...

and don't forget the politicians deflect the blame by pointing fingers elsewhere. and it's a lot easier to blame others and not yourself.

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