In a remarkably frank admission, Donald Trump likened himself to a puppet master, using big campaign donations as strings to force legislators to do his bidding. During an interview on Fox News Sunday on December 13, Trump said, "I was a member of the establishment seven months ago...writing checks and having people do whatever I want, like puppets."
Americans of both parties have long recognized and been angered by the influence-peddling and vote-buying that occurs in Washington.
Big-money donors are not usually ideologically motivated, but rather, expect favorable treatment for themselves or their business interests once their candidate is sworn in as legislator. We believe taking away the favors politicians have to dispense will dry up this money and restore the level playing field Americans hold dear, far more effectively than continued attempts at a regulatory solution...which someone always finds a workaround for, anyway.
One of the most common means for politicians to reward their supporters is through regulatory exemptions. An amendment that prohibits members of Congress from exempting themselves and their friends from the laws they make for the rest of us not only enjoys the unanimous support of voters we’ve surveyed, but also removes a powerful incentive for business owners to attempt to “buy” candidates. A companion amendment removing de facto lawmaking authority from unelected bureaucrats will help prevent members of Congress from hiding these activities from voters. Such amendments will also help locally-owned businesses compete more effectively with large corporations, that can afford lobbyists and attorneys to keep them in compliance with evermore burdensome and complex federal regulations. Americans of all political persuasions agree that a business should succeed because it offers a superior product or service to its customers...not because it has friends in Washington.
One particular category of exemption that can result in a financial bonanza for an organization is tax exemptions. These can be manipulated by granting or withholding tax exempt status from an organization, by controlling which expenses are and are not deductible, by declaring certain kinds of income tax-exempt, or by granting tax credits. The 2015 Internal Revenue Code is nearly 5,000 pages long and its index contains over 22,000 entries. This needless complexity not only invites abuse, but diverts national resources to compliance that could be better invested in our local economies. An amendment replacing the income tax with a national sales tax exempting food and medicines, while highly progressive, has the power to eliminate the ability of politicians to reward big donors through our tax code.
Another vehicle for cronyism rests in the power of politicians to use taxpayer money to invest in & award grants, loans, and loan guarantees to for-profit businesses. Why should the politically-connected get to shake down the American taxpayer when they couldn’t convince local banks and investors to fund their projects? American taxpayers have lost multiplied billions of dollars on companies owned by big political donors that received federal funding and then went bankrupt. Moreover, when the federal government invests in businesses even as it regulates them and the financial markets in which they function, it acts as both referee and player. This creates an additional dimension of conflict-of-interest that everyday Americans find unacceptable. The only way this practice will be stopped is for the states to propose and ratify an amendment prohibiting it; there is too much power and money involved to expect Congress to reform itself.
Finally, term limits can serve to disrupt the ability of lobbyists and big donors to groom and maintain politicians. Term limits are wildly popular among voters, and lobbyists are adamantly opposed to them. Enough said.
It's time to clip the Puppet Masters' strings and return government accountability to We the People. Please sign our on-line petition at www.COSaction.com, and use the buttons below to SHARE with your friends. Because nobody wants a capitol full of puppets…except the Puppet Masters.
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