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February 23, 2006

Bill Moyers - Saving Democracy - MUST READ!!

-- by Dave Johnson

Saving Democracy,

It is a Dick Cheney world out there – a world where politicians and lobbyists hunt together, dine together, drink together, play together, pray together and prey together, all the while carving up the world according to their own interests.

... As great wealth has accumulated at the top, the rest of society has not been benefiting proportionally. In 1960 the gap between the top 20% and the bottom 20% was thirtyfold. Now it is seventy-five fold. Thirty years ago the average annual compensation of the top 100 chief executives in the country was 30 times the pay of the average worker. Today it is 1000 times the pay of the average worker.

... In the words of Louis Brandeis, one of the greatest of our Supreme Court justices: “You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both.”

... Since Bush was elected the number of lobbyists registered to do business in Washington has more than doubled. That’s 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 to 34,785 last year. Sixty-five lobbyists for every member of Congress.

The amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by nearly one hundred percent in that same period, according to The Washington Post, going up to anything from $20,000 to $40,000 a month. Starting salaries have risen to nearly $300,000 a year for the best-connected people, those leaving Congress or the administration.

The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month.

... A recent CBS news/New York Times poll found that 70% of Americans believe lobbyists bribing members of Congress is the way things work. Fifty seven percent thinks at least half of the members of Congress accept bribes or gifts that affect their votes. A Fox News poll reported that sixty five percent believe most elected officials in Washington make policy decisions or take actions on the basis of campaign contributions. Findings like these underscore the fact that ordinary people believe their bonds with democracy are not only stretched but sundered.

... There are, as I said, no victimless crimes in politics. The cost of corruption is passed on to you. When the government of the United States falls under the thumb of the powerful and privileged, regular folks get squashed.
... I have painted a bleak picture of democracy today. I believe it is a true picture. But it is not a hopeless picture. Something can be done about it.

Go read.

Posted by Dave Johnson at February 23, 2006 9:45 PM

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Comments

A voice crying in the wilderness.

Posted by: MJ at February 24, 2006 5:40 AM

OK, I read Moyers piece. My goodness!! Does he get paid by the word. If I haven't pointed this out previously, I'm pleased to do so now:

Democrats are boring

Are we supposed to be shocked that money fuels politics? Are we to be suprised that the party in power makes the rules? Are we dumbfounded to discover that the majority party chooses which legislation passes?

I think the thing that would help the Democrat's cause the most would be to develop an instinct for identifying what issues interest the American public. This piece fails miserably in that regard.

Posted by: HappyOD at February 24, 2006 10:26 AM

If you believed that HO, you wouldn't be over here playing Ben Schapiro all the time.

Posted by: grannyinsanity at February 24, 2006 11:17 AM

Good point granny,

I'm not referring to the Democrats on this blog, but more specifically to the Democrats that the media chooses to broadcast and publish. They seem to singing from the same sheet of music all the time. And the music the band leader keeps choosing is more Lawrence Welk than Rolling Stones. I find the Democrats on this blog to be fascinating, and willing to provide lively debate on many topics. By the way, I've never read Ben Schapiro, are either of those books any good?

Posted by: HappyOD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 4:09 PM

Just figured out Ben Shapiro is that kid who is a columnist for Town Hall, as well as the author of two books. Turns out I have read a few of his columns. He's pretty funny.

Posted by: HappyOD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 24, 2006 4:15 PM

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