Northwest Bronx
for Change

Concerned Citizens for Change is a grassroots organization working to advance progressive issues at the city, state and federal levels.  
Big $$$$$ In Politics
The Golden Rule: He who has the gold rules.

That old wisecrack really describes American government today. There is a debate taking place: Is America becoming an oligarchy or has it already become an oligarchy?

Two political scientists, Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, conducted a study of a twenty year period to learn how the federal government responds to the desire for legislative or policy changes from people of different income levels and interest groups with different levels of financing. They found that ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over the direction of government while economic elites and wealthy interest groups have a substantial influence over  our government. You can learn more about this study by viewing Thom Hartmann’s interview with Professor Gilens: Is Democracy Available Only To The Elite?

It would be fair to describe the current situation as legalized bribery. Here are two links which explain the way it functions.

This article by Jacob Hacker and Nathan Lowenthiel appeared in the journal Democracy: How Big Money Corrupts The Economy

This is a recording and transcript of a radio interview of Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman by Michael Winship on Moyers and Company: The System Is Rigged Against Regular People

We support a number measures which could combat our corrupt system.

Changing The Makeup Of The Supreme Court—The possibility of using limits on campaign spending and limits on campaign contributions to curb the influence of big money on the system was eliminated by a series of Supreme Court decisions.  New members who would reverse some or all of these decisions would be one way forward.

A Constitutional Amendment –The Constitution could be amended so that limits on campaign spending and campaign contributions could not be considered as limits on freedom of speech. Amending the Constitution would be a long difficult process, but it has been done before and could be done again. It would require America reaching the point where candidates for Congress start to lose elections because they do not support amendment.

Public Financing Of Campaigns—An adequately funded system would allow candidates who want to be independent form organized money.

The Sanders Model—Bernie Sanders put together a campaign funded by numerous small dollar donors. This idea could morph into a movement which could transform key races.

Disclosure—The Supreme Court has not ruled against requirements that campaign contribution be disclosed. The problem is that Congress won’t pass the laws needed to make disclosure a requirement.

Organized money in politics is the key issue holding back progressive change. It is hard to make progress on other issues because of this one. If We the People don't solve this problem we will have to kiss the idea of democracy goodbye.