The market capitalization of the ten largest US corporation is about $3.5 trillion. The United States government will expend about $4 trillion in fiscal year 2016. The ten richest Americans are worth about $456.9 billion.
Think, for a moment, what you could do with one billion dollars. If you had 1,000 family members and friends, you could make each of them a millionaire. If you dumped the whole lot into a short-term bond fund, you’d make $50,300,000.00 per year…or, to put it in terms of a 40 hour work-week, you’d be paid $24,182.69 per hour. For doing nothing. And you wouldn’t even be touching your billion dollars. Now, multiply that by about 8,000 and you’re at what the largest corporations, the government and the richest people in America have. Those are resources beyond imagination. Who could you not buy off? Who could you not convince to do things your way?
To be sure, those who have a deeply-instructed religious/philosophical mind would be beyond your power…but this is a small minority of the whole. So many people would present themselves at your beck and call that you could safely ignore those outside your influence…or destroy them if they became an irritation. Yesterday, it was announced that those who had made the videos showing Planned Parenthood selling baby parts have been indicted. Think about that for a moment – Planned Parenthood is deliberately breaking the law and it is the people who exposed the law-breaking who are under indictment. This is what you can do if you have lots of money – and thus have lots of power…and Planned Parenthood is awash in cash to buy influence to put down people pesky enough to look into their doings.
We all remember the O J Simpson case – the evidence was, to say the least, pretty strong that he had murdered two people in cold blood. We don’t know, precisely, how much money Simpson spent on his defense (for some reason defense attorneys are reticent about telling us of their fees for such cases), but the estimate at the time was about five million dollars. O J, to put it in a nutshell, purchased a not-guilty verdict. Marc Rich was indicted for a variety of crimes…but one million dollars donated to the Democrat Party, $100,000.00 to Hillary’s 2000 Senate campaign and $450,000.00 to Bill’s Presidential library and, presto!, a pardon. A bargain for a guy who was worth north of a billion dollars. And wouldn’t it be great if you could buy yourself out of a long prison sentence?
But, you can’t. I can’t. Very likely, no one even in your remotest relations and third-degree-separation friends can, either. Nor can we buy our way on to television, nor into lucrative book deals, nor into the halls of power to pitch our case. We don’t have enough money – we don’t count. Because money is power. If you wonder why the GOP leadership kept on getting it wrong and, eventually, set the stage of Donald Trump to bollix up the whole GOP primary in 2016, look no further than the money. The GOP leadership wasn’t interested in what we cared about – they continued to do whatever it was the money wanted done…and, here we are.
Hillary rather infamously said a few years back that for our own good, they’re going to have to take some things away from us. She means what small amounts of money and property we’ve got – she’s certainly not going to take away the money of those who are keeping her and her family on the gravy train. Sanders talks about making the rich pay “their fair share”, but if you think he’s ever going to Soros’ house to demand a billion dollars of his money, then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Remember, aside from a few of clear mind, those in government are in government because someone with a bucket of money helped to put them in government. People are usually not interested in killing their goose that lays the golden eggs.
Where am I going with all this? Well, our Founders wrote a great governing document – our Constitution (currently hibernating) – with all sorts of things put in there to make sure government couldn’t do things (and just what part of “shall not be infringed” do you not get, liberals?) but here we are, a bit more than 200 years later, and government is doing all sorts of things which violate the letter and spirit of the Constitution. How did this happen? People with lots of money purchased influence and got the government to just go ahead and do things it isn’t allowed to do. To be sure, this was often done with the official consent of the people – if we elect a Big Government liberal, then no one should be surprised when that Big Government liberal goes nuts with power.
What is missing from our Constitution is some mechanisms which would make sure that when money talks, the law and morality speak louder. Our liberals – because they are nitwits – think that the solution to the corruption of money is to make sure the government has all the money. As if the people in government, in control of vast sums, don’t dip into the till for themselves and their cronies…nor use the money of government to induce people to act against their own best interests. We can’t get rid of money, no matter how you slice it – and we can’t get rid of rich people, either (even under the Soviet Union, there were people who were quite rich…they just made their money off government instead of off providing a good or service the people might want). But we simply must do something to mute the power of money.
I’m sure if we ponder it for a while, a lot of solutions could come up, but I think the best immediate solution is term limits. It is easy to buy a guy in his 20’s and he stays bought into his 70’s after he’s on his 5th Senate term. Much harder to buy Congress over and over again every few years. But we can’t just limit the number of years people serve in an office, we also have to make it so that no particular office is an immediate stepping stone to a different office. The Romans, under the Republic, had it that you couldn’t take a different government office until five years after you left your last office. And that is a grand idea. No more having people just step from city council to State Assembly to the House to the Senate and having a 50 year long uninterrupted career…and in all that time, continually doing the bidding of those who have the money. It would work like this – you get elected to the House and then you can serve three terms and then you’re out…and once you’re out, it is five years before you can even seek a different office; any office. You’re just out of politics, completely…hopefully to be entirely forgotten after two or three years, so there’s less incentive for you to try for a different office down the road. But, even if you do, at least we’ve got five years to see how what you did turned out. Before you face the voters again, we’re going to know what happened with those great-sounding laws you helped to pass. We also need to apply term limits to government service…no more than 20 years entrenched in the bureaucracy, and no fat pensions, either; 401k’s for everyone. Having a permanent class of bureaucrats also doesn’t work well for us because they, too, fall under the influence of those with money (or become influence peddlers, themselves). Government service should be, outside the military, a short-term duty civic minded people take upon themselves…not a life-long sinecure for corrupt and stupid people.
At all events, we have to do something – we can’t just let our Republic go down due to the corruption of short-sighted, power-mad nincompoops who make a career out of politics. Money needs to be shut up and the will of the people needs to prevail.
UPDATE: One of our Progressive lurkers decided to call me out on this – naturally, the objection to the post is not related to the subject at hand. The objection is that I spoke disparagingly of saintly Planned Parenthood. How dare I! After all, an organization dedicated to killing unborn children could not be other than of the highest morality! At all events, the left is assuming that the indictment of the makers of the videos proves that it is the video makers who are in the wrong – and they love to point out that the DA is a Republican and was appointed by a Republican governor and, therefor, there can be no other conclusion than THE VIDEO MAKERS ARE EVIL EVIL EVIL!!!!11!.
Well, not quite – Devon Anderson was appointed Harris County DA in 2013 succeeding her late husband in the position. While Anderson is indeed a Republican, Harris County is one of the few Democrat counties in the State of Texas (Obama won the county, narrowly, in both 2008 and 2012). Houston, which is the county seat of Harris, hasn’t had a Republican Mayor since 1982. In a very odd bit of business, Anderson didn’t indict abortionist Douglas Karpen, who’s activities were very similar to the abortion shop of horrors run by Kermit Gosnell, now serving life without the possibility of parole in Pennsylvania. Anderson is up for election in 2016 and the $25,000.00 odd dollars donated to her campaign by Douglas Karpen’s attorney will probably come in handy. Meanwhile, indicting PP would probably not have worked to Anderson’s advantage in November.
You see? Even if one wishes to suppose that Planned Parenthood is guiltless and that those mean, nasty Pro Lifers got what is coming to them what we have is a system where a person is made DA because of the political connections of her late husband and who is taking donations from people who defend those allegedly under investigation by the DA. This is what I’m on about with Money is Power, folks…