To date, it’s been easy to ignore the various “Occupy” movements around the country. Protesters pitched their tents hither and yon (both legally and illegally) but could never explain what, exactly, they were protesting about.
That may be changing. Even as federal authorities threaten to end their protest, Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney says at least one protester has finally rallied behind a cause. “[Brian] Eister is devoting much of his energy to a campaign designed to reduce the role of big money in American government and politics,” McCartney wrote on Jan. 21. “I think that cause offers the chronically unfocused Occupy movement its best chance to unify around a single issue with the potential to attract popular support.”
Occupy D.C. apparently supports a Constitutional amendment that would curb corporate involvement in politics. “[W]ith public officials basically at the mercy of campaign donors, they don’t have the leverage to create real change even if they want to.” Eister says.
But the truth is very simple: The only way to get the money out of politics is to get Washington out of the business of handing out money.
This would be easier said than done, of course. Today’s federal government spends roughly $3.7 trillion, more than $1 trillion of that borrowed from future taxpayers. It pays for everything from fighter jets (although fewer of those than it used to) to food stamps (many more of those than it used to -- $72.5 billion in 2010, up from about $40 billion in 2008).
But the fact is that the more the federal government involves itself in day-to-day life, the more people will line up to lobby the federal government. “The best way to make money is by having political connections with the Obama administration and the Democratic Party,” John Hinderaker opined recently at Powerline. “For every dollar that a member of President Obama’s campaign finance committee contributed to his campaign, that member’s company has received nearly $25,000 from the Obama administration. How’s that for a return on investment?”