Money is Speech

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constituted the Bill of Rights: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Amendment as actually implemented on April 2, 2014, to promote the intolerant, righteous rich and their interests, and to advance greed and self-interest over civic responsibility and the public interest:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion other than Christianity; or prohibiting the intolerance of the righteous; or abridging the freedom of distribution of money to encourage the corruption of elected and appointed government officials.

In America today, corporations are people and money is speech. Perhaps the five supremes are influenced more by ideology or theory than pragmatism or realism. Could the supremes be right? May be eroding these parts of the system will be inconsequential, that is, money will not decide who wins or looses, and large sums from a small proportion of the population will not corrupt officials or influence policy. Right, sure. Today’s inequality is a symptom of a failure of the governing system to address the ‘success to the successful’ feedback loop (also know as the ‘rich get richer’). Who is getting what? The very rich are getting richer as our government has reduced the feedback loop. The rich believe in a trickle down theory because it promotes their short-term interests, and it was just a coincidence that our government passed laws to enact policies that favored the greedy.  

Tomorrow in America, corporations will vote and only the excessively greedy will be allowed to influence the Government for additional preferential, unjust, and unequal treatment. God bless America?

Equality and Justice

[300 word Letter to the Net]

Our society has become more unequal. As citizens, we need to address fairness and justice. This requires addressing the ‘success to the successful’ feedback loop (also know as the ‘rich get richer’). Instead of politicians leveling the playing field, many have increased the advantage of the strongest. Friends say that action to mitigate the ‘success to the successful’ loop can degenerate into socialism, and this is true. It is also true that the failure to address inequality produces corruption and traps some citizens in less productive pursuits. Inequality in life should be expected and we should not whine about it; however, excessive inequality is destructive to a society.

A hardworking person should receive a livable wage. People should expect and receive equal treatment from their government. Contributing to a politician’s campaign should help the candidate, not the donor. Lobbying should result in better laws, rather than laws that favor the well to do. Today these things are not always true. I’m looking for political leaders that understand these issues and that can work to recreate reasonable, balanced adjustments in our policies.

What of justice? Our country’s ideals includes treating all people the same. Robert Pirsig, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, said, “When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt”. Interesting that Pirsig observed that fanaticism was the result of reservations of the zealot. Today’s examples may include political extremism that has repackaged the flawed trickle-down economic theory and the zealous protection of those that need no help. One wonders about government inaction on fraudulent Wall Street activities. And on the recognition of same-sex marriage, one wonders what the zealous opponents are insecure about.