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Thread: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

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    Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    WASHINGTON — When Representative Ed Pastor was first elected to Congress two decades ago, he was comfortably ensconced in the middle class. Mr. Pastor, a Democrat from Arizona, held $100,000 or so in savings accounts in the mid-1990s and had a retirement pension, but like many Americans, he also owed the banks nearly as much in loans.
    Today, Mr. Pastor, a miner’s son and a former high school teacher, is a member of a not-so-exclusive club: Capitol Hill millionaires. That group has grown in recent years to include nearly half of all members of Congress — 250 in all — and the wealth gap between lawmakers and their constituents appears to be growing quickly, even as Congress debates unemployment benefits, possible cuts in food stamps and a “millionaire’s tax.”
    There's lots more at the link...and before you start hollering that this just to bash on Democrats think again. It talks about some Republican members also.

    Anyways...discuss.
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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Just all the more reason for term limits. Which ain't gonna happen, as Congress would have to vote itself off the gravy train.

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    I'll go one better...name an honest congressman.

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by Eighty Deuce View Post
    Just all the more reason for term limits. Which ain't gonna happen, as Congress would have to vote itself off the gravy train.
    I don't see how term-limits would make a whole lot of difference. In today's electoral atmosphere, it takes a wealthy person to be able to run an effective campaign. The average middle-class American simply doesn't have the resources to do this. This isn't going to change that, and frankly I'm a bit tired of folks throwing out term-limits as a catch-all solution for all of Congress's problems. The problems go a lot deeper than that.

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    I don't see how term-limits would make a whole lot of difference. In today's electoral atmosphere, it takes a wealthy person to be able to run an effective campaign. The average middle-class American simply doesn't have the resources to do this. This isn't going to change that, and frankly I'm a bit tired of folks throwing out term-limits as a catch-all solution for all of Congress's problems. The problems go a lot deeper than that.
    I agree....I also think that experienced Congressmembers that are use to dealing with each other is pretty important to compromise and getting things done. Money in politics can be solved via other methods. Having Tea Party Congress types or OWS Congress types serving just 1 or 2 terms would create gridlock.
    “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” John Maynard Keynes

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonramen View Post
    I agree....I also think that experienced Congressmembers that are use to dealing with each other is pretty important to compromise and getting things done.
    Exactly right. We've never had term-limits before, but Congress was at one time more or less functional. Experienced Senators and Congressmen knew how to get stuff done when it needed to be done through informal and formal relationships that they built with other Congressmen. The guys up there now mostly dislike each other "both on and off the court" to use a basketball analogy.

    Money in politics can be solved via other methods. Having Tea Party Congress types or OWS Congress types serving just 1 or 2 terms would create gridlock.
    I do have a problem with money in elections, but I don't know how we'd solve that short of introducing public campaign finance, a system which will have its own drawbacks. I have a bigger problem withthe fact that we keep on electing more polarized types, leading to dysfunction in Congress. This is a function of the winner-takes-all electoral system, and results in a Congress that doesn't really accurately reflect the beliefs of the American people.

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    Exactly right. We've never had term-limits before, but Congress was at one time more or less functional. Experienced Senators and Congressmen knew how to get stuff done when it needed to be done through informal and formal relationships that they built with other Congressmen. The guys up there now mostly dislike each other "both on and off the court" to use a basketball analogy.



    I do have a problem with money in elections, but I don't know how we'd solve that short of introducing public campaign finance, a system which will have its own drawbacks. I have a bigger problem withthe fact that we keep on electing more polarized types, leading to dysfunction in Congress. This is a function of the winner-takes-all electoral system, and results in a Congress that doesn't really accurately reflect the beliefs of the American people.
    don't need public finance of political campaigns
    what we need are a few more rules

    only those registered to vote can make campaign contributions, not to exceed $x amount per candidate
    if the person running for office will not appear on your ballot, you cannot contribute to their campaign
    ALL funds contributed MUST be posted on a specific federal web site within 10 days of such contribution, identifying the name of the donor, the amount donated, and the form of the donation
    any donations received but not posted on that web site within the time frame will be viewed as an illegal bribe
    campaign contributions not spent on the campaign by the candidate can be held into perpetuity or given to the US Treasury

    what does this do:
    eliminates foreign countries, multinational corporations, PACs, trade unions from being able to buy political influence
    eliminates wealthy citizens like soros in new york from buying political offices in places where they are not registered to vote, ohio, for instance
    we can distinguish legal contributions from illegal bribes
    candidates such as palin cannot personally benefit from their collected campaign contributions
    finally, we get to see how well candidates can effectively allocate their campaign funds; if they are unable to do that for their own campaign then i don't want them making decisions about spending taxpayer dollars

    if we fail to implement such changes we will continue to have the best government money can buy
    we are negotiating about dividing a pizza and in the meantime israel is eating it
    once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by justabubba View Post
    don't need public finance of political campaigns
    what we need are a few more rules

    only those registered to vote can make campaign contributions, not to exceed $x amount per candidate
    if the person running for office will not appear on your ballot, you cannot contribute to their campaign
    ALL funds contributed MUST be posted on a specific federal web site within 10 days of such contribution, identifying the name of the donor, the amount donated, and the form of the donation
    any donations received but not posted on that web site within the time frame will be viewed as an illegal bribe
    campaign contributions not spent on the campaign by the candidate can be held into perpetuity or given to the US Treasury

    what does this do:
    eliminates foreign countries, multinational corporations, PACs, trade unions from being able to buy political influence
    eliminates wealthy citizens like soros in new york from buying political offices in places where they are not registered to vote, ohio, for instance
    we can distinguish legal contributions from illegal bribes
    candidates such as palin cannot personally benefit from their collected campaign contributions
    finally, we get to see how well candidates can effectively allocate their campaign funds; if they are unable to do that for their own campaign then i don't want them making decisions about spending taxpayer dollars
    if we fail to implement such changes we will continue to have the best government money can buy
    Incorrect. All one needs do to get around that is to send in anonymous donations.

    And none of it keeps a politician from using his office and knowledge gained from being in office to gain millions and millions of dollars, even at the expense of the people that he/she represents. Which is mainly what this thread is about.
    Last edited by Kal'Stang; 12-29-11 at 02:48 PM.
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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal'Stang View Post
    Incorrect. All one needs do to get around that is to send in anonymous donations.

    And none of it keeps a politician from using his office and knowledge gained from being in office to gain millions and millions of dollars, even at the expense of the people that he/she represents. Which is mainly what this thread is about.
    I don't buy this rationale at all, but I see this all the time. Most Congresspeople don't enter into politics in order to get rich in office, as the vast majority of them are already wealthy. How do you think they run all these multi-million dollar campaigns? They actually take a pay cut to serve in the legislature.

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    Re: Economic downturn took a detour at Capitol Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal'Stang View Post
    Incorrect. All one needs do to get around that is to send in anonymous donations.
    and under those rules, for the candidate to accept those monies he makes himself vulnerable to conviction for accepting a bribe

    And none of it keeps a politician from using his office and knowledge gained from being in office to gain millions and millions of dollars, even at the expense of the people that he/she represents.
    those major campaign contributors are giving money to the politician often with the expectation to buy influence. this would end that practice
    now, the one seeking to influence the political outcome might use other means, but they no longer get to buy influence in the form of legal bribes, also known as campaign contributions
    the offer of a job to a politician or his staff is something which would not be prohibited under such a revision, but that would not prevent other rules becoming effective to eliminate revolving door influence

    Which is mainly what this thread is about.
    thought this thread was about politicians being unfairly enriched because of the laxity of rules governing their behavior
    we are negotiating about dividing a pizza and in the meantime israel is eating it
    once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed

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