Wednesday, May 23, 2012

“We Mean Business” = No Representative Democracy

Most people believe the citizens of Illinois are victims of a partisan polarization and well-financed organizational interest group politics and policies, of compromised corporate-owned media that has been bought by the wealthy minority to shape what and how they think about fiscal issues, that the Illinois state government is held hostage by affluent and influential “special interests” (to protect the riches of the wealthy); where both the republican and democratic parties are one and the same “Money Party,” corrupted by briberies (campaign funding) made legal (Citizens United); and by those who can manipulate the state’s politicians without consequences, set the legislative agenda, and hoodwink and oppress an oblivious populace.

There is an ugly liaison between dishonest politics and corrupt partnerships.  A substantial amount of campaign money affects the ability and the will of our state legislators to make legal and moral decisions; it is money that motivates legislators to believe that radical “pension reform,” for instance, is the option for reducing the state’s budget deficits and not revenue restructuring.

The polarization between the rich and the rest of us protracts a policy-making for “special-interests” patrons, where donations create obligations, allegiances and reciprocities. Lobbyists are no longer subtle about their tactics today, about the contaminating financial dependency that they instigate with legislators, and about their continuing influences upon policy and bills that are passed in the State of Illinois. 

If we asked our legislators whether their decisions were independent of their highly-addictive campaign funding, what would they say to us?  That their financial support does not affect the issues and the issues’ outcomes that they consider for the rest of us? That it does not affect their votes on policy and bills or the tax benefits that they will grant to the state’s wealthiest corporations?  That exorbitant campaign funding does not distract them from their elected purpose and their oath of office to represent their electorate?  That injustices perpetrated by the influential self-interests of biased brokers with their moneyed-access of power that is granted to them do not exist? “Special interests” of Political Action Committees also mean “bankrolling candidates who are willing to cross labor unions and vote to reduce pension benefits and/or require workers to pay more for them” (Illinois Review, 26 January 2012).

A “rigged system” exempts the wealthy from their proposed “reforms.” It means the rising inequalities that continue to exist in Illinois are funded by powerful and wealthy interests’ groups, like “We Mean Business” of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.  Ty Fahner of the Civic Committee says that he wants “to build a $1 million pot” by November to elect lawmakers who back pension reform.  Representatives Tim Schmitz, Elaine Nekritz, and Darlene Senger are among many who have already received donations from the Civic Committee’s “We Mean Business” coffers.  Legislators proffer unequal opportunities for the citizenry and quantifiable payoffs for the state’s largest corporate executives to ensure patronage for their re-election campaigns.  A “rigged system” also means unions must have their own lobbyists compete on this filthy, political roller coaster because the ride is “rigged” by the highest bidder. The citizens of Illinois must put an end to this sleazy carnival of thieves.  

-Glen Brown

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