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From the Left Hand Corner: Faraway funding bad for government

Our government is us - in theory at least. Our standing system of law directs us to think we are a people to govern ourselves. Our government costs money - quite a lot of money. Taxes are the legitimate cost of this government. But, the money spe...

Our government is us - in theory at least.

Our standing system of law directs us to think we are a people to govern ourselves. Our government costs money - quite a lot of money. Taxes are the legitimate cost of this government.

But, the money spent on government should be used to meet legitimate government needs.

Certainly, we need to do a better job of seeing that those taxes are carefully spent, including that they be confined to legitimate agreed upon government expenditures. That does not include a golden opportunity for certain opportunists to get rich on payments or profits from government coffers such as is the case now.

We have as much government by lobbyist as we have citizenry government at the national level.

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We have tons of dollars flowing to elect or unelect people in office that could be better spent on the problems that exist and the needs government is designed to meet.

For example, instead of pouring millions of dollars in to defeat our congressman, how about building a bridge or fixing a road or two?

We have reached a status, at least at our highest levels of government, where service in governmental elected position is only available to a select few. Most of our elected officials at national level are either rich or famous (or both), comfortably retired or eligible to be so.

If not themselves, they made it to office on the dollars of others who are. That is not the way it ought to be.

Our Congressman Rick Nolan is leading the pack in Washington in bringing about true election reform. He's not working in a very receptive climate, but God bless his effort. It is long overdue.

Hopefully, it will bring about some constructive changes. At least, it will get people thinking and get the ball rolling toward a more representative government.

People must certainly be getting tired of having their representatives bought for them, by outsiders they don't know and can't even identify.

The question is whether we as a society are collectively upset enough to press for and bring about constructive change. It won't be overnight. How many years has it taken for civil rights, human rights, gender fairness and equal education, which are all still in developing state?

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But, along with limiting amounts that can be spent by individuals or groups on given campaigns and forcing big contributors to identify themselves, we ought to be limiting geographical scope of political contributions.

It is one thing for a rich person to contribute a large sum to a candidate or campaign where that person or entity resides and is a constituent. It is quite another for such person or entity to pump vast sums of money and, thus, materially affect races clear across the country - in districts or cities they've never been to - to elect or defeat a candidate they don't know and have never met.

An oil billionaire from Texas shouldn't be able to defeat a governor candidate from Minnesota. Nor should a Hollywood star be able to affect the outcome in a congressional race in upstate New York.

That type of instance gets even worse and less defensible when large sums of faraway money flow in to elect or defeat our local legislators.

Let the people of respective areas in our country do their own selection and elections of the people to represent them. That makes the officeholder accountable to the people from that area, the people the officeholder is elected to represent.

If that person fails to do so, then replace him or her in the next election with someone who will. That representative will be representing the district's citizenry, not beholden to the outlanders who pumped in big money from remote and unnamed sources.

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