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Monday, February 8, 2016

How Do We Fix the Broken Government? (Guest Post)

Author/economist/professor Robert Reich writes:

The Chicken and the Egg 

At the core of crony capitalism lies a chicken-and-egg dilemma: 

How is it possible to get big money out of politics when the political system is controlled by big money? 

Even candidates who pledge reform but depend on big money to get elected give up on reform. Bill Clinton said he’d clean up the system but once in the White House did no cleaning (in fact, he offered the White House’s own Lincoln Bedroom to wealthy campaign-donors). Barack Obama bemoaned the role of big money but in 2008 became the first candidate of a major party to decline public financing — and the spending limits that went with it — since the system was created in 1976, after the Watergate scandals, and has since done nothing to stem the tide.

Since the Supreme Court's “Citizens United" decision, that tide has been washing away what's left of our democracy. By the 2012 election, donations from the richest 0.01 percent were 40 percent of all campaign contributions.

The only answer is a citizen’s movement that propels a candidate into the White House who’s not only committed to ending crony capitalism, but whose campaign is based on small donations. That movement is occurring right now, and that candidate is Bernie Sanders.

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