Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was recently released from prison, said in a recent interview the way to fix corruption was to eliminate every item of value from the lobbying process for all elected officials and their staffs. Sound familiar?
Abramoff also said he now believes in term limits and that politicians should not work for organizations connected to government or civil service. This was directed at people like Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who claims to be a historian for Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac.
Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC has been pushing to get money out of politics. To my sense of what is right and fair, amending the Constitution to make electioneering publicly funded, overturning the ludicrous "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision and following Abramoff’s suggestion about lobbying is the way to fix our problems instead of just the symptoms.
Journalist Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post asked: “What would make our economy grow?”
He immediately debunked the canard about businesses being over-regulated, over-taxed and interfered with by government by citing a World Economic Forum survey that puts the United States fifth on its overall economic competitiveness. A World Bank report ranks the U.S. No. 4.
Furthermore, the Kauffman Foundation found in 2010 that 340 Americans out of every 100,000 started a new business every month. That rate is slightly higher than in 2007, before the recession. Regarding regulations, a Bloomberg News analysis found the Obama administration has not reviewed or issued significantly more rules than its predecessors.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said measured tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product indicated the U.S. came in 27th out of 30 countries. Taxes are historically low today, the lowest since the early 1950s. The complexity of the U.S. tax code does limit economic growth and competitiveness. The World Bank finds the only category in which the U.S. is not in the top 20 is “paying taxes,” where it ranks a miserable 72. (The U.S. ranking shifted from 76 in the 2008 report to 46 in 2009 and 61 in 2010.) The report adds tax reform that eliminates the loopholes, deductions and credits — and the inherent corruption related to them — would clearly help the economy.
There are those who whine about government being too big, spending and taxing too much, controlling our lives too much and invading our freedoms too much. When the data is validated, the fact is citizens haven’t done their jobs. We haven’t elected the right people to make the right laws for the right reasons.
There is an election in November. It is our duty to fix the government rather than just despise it.
Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.