Newspaper logo  
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

11.25 Experts discuss how to build a carbon-free energy industry

11.25 Somaliland stricken by drought: 'We need what all humans need'

11.25 What can the world learn from Växjö, Europe's self-styled greenest city?

11.24 Weather disasters occurred almost daily over last decade, UN says

11.24 Most of Britain's major cities pledge to run on green energy by 2050

11.23 The Gene Hackers

11.23 Wind from Britain, solar from the Sahara, geothermal from Iceland

11.23 Alberta to introduce carbon tax

11.23 First EPA chief accuses Republicans of ignoring science for political gain

11.23 Climate change and the Republican party: 'America is not a planet'

11.23 World trade has an important role in combating climate change

11.23 The Guardian view on antibiotic resistance: a clear and present danger

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.25 Why white people aren’t called “terrorist”: The media accepts that “people who resort to violence are left-wing or Arab or both” [fighting to change a racist culture head-on]

11.24 Five people shot at Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis: Police

11.24 8,855 Murders by Firearm in US in 2012 vs. 30 (Equiv. 164) in UK [graphics, video]

11.24 Part 4: A reservation town fighting alcoholism, obesity and ghosts from the past

11.24 Donald Trump doesn't care what's true, just what his base feels is true

11.24 Republicans think being pro-family means forcing women to have babies

11.23 This is why we’re so f*cked: Our politics are only going to get worse

11.23 5 worst right-wing moments of the week — The Donald goes full fascist

11.23 Louisiana Just Voted to Give a Quarter of a Million People Health Care

11.23 Shooting in New Orleans park leaves at least 16 people wounded [normal, move along folks...]

Justice Matters

11.22 West Virginia mine explosion trial showcases challenge of jailing a CEO

High Crimes?

11.24 Saudi Arabia: Poet Sentenced to Death for Apostasy [Saudi Arabia: an ISIS-like Islamist theocracy...]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.25 Fossil fuel companies risk wasting $2tn of investors' money, study says

11.23 Pfizer and Allergan poised to announce history's biggest healthcare merger

11.22 Hang Onto Your Wallets: Negative Interest, the War on Cash, and the $10 Trillion Bail-in


11.25 Who owns our cities – and why this urban takeover should concern us all

11.25 Angela Merkel stands by refugee policy despite security fears

11.25 Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution [fighting to change a barbaric Islamist culture head-on]

11.25 Manuel Valls: the French PM taking a hard line against terror

11.24 Muslims are integrated in France, but the bad guys want a clash of civilizations

11.24 Turkish military official says fighter jets destroyed plane after it violated country’s airspace, which Russia denies

11.24 Government ‘must do more to help vulnerable households this winter’

11.23 Beijing Replaced This Huge Bridge in Only 43 Hours

11.23 Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam still on run after Belgian police raids [1:35 video]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
This site Web
  Print view: Dollar Dreams from 'Dollar Bill' Bradley

Dollar Dreams from 'Dollar Bill' Bradley

by Gerald E. Scorse
Bradley’s book, We Can All Do Better, has an early chapter, "Uprooting the Root of All Evil," that examines the corruption of politics by checkbooks.

Dollars deliver messages in a new book by “Dollar Bill” Bradley, and the former Rhodes scholar, NBA star, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate has no doubt where the dollars should and shouldn’t be going. They should be pouring FDR-style into job creation, and they shouldn’t be donated to politicians, especially dollars from corporations.

Bradley’s book, We Can All Do Better, has an early chapter, "Uprooting the Root of All Evil," that examines the corruption of politics by checkbooks. “At the core of the Washington culture is money,” the chapter begins. “It burdens politicians with the need to raise it. And when they’ve raised it, it compromises them.”

Bradley writes that he spent $1.68 million running for the Senate in 1978. In 2000, running for the same New Jersey seat, Jon Corzine spent more than $62 million, “most of it his own." While Bradley is scalding about Citizens United, he says the Supreme Court’s wrong-headedness on political donations actually took root in Buckley vs. Valeo in 1976. In that decision “the Court said that the money spent by an individual on his or her own political campaign was political speech, protected under the free-speech clause of the Constitution, and therefore could not be limited. This opened the floodgates for rich people [e.g., Corzine] to finance their own efforts.”

It defies common sense, Bradley says. “In Buckley, the Supreme Court said in effect that it was just fine that the candidate with little money only has a megaphone while the candidate with a lot of money has a microphone.” This laid the groundwork for the corporations-are-people Citizens United ruling, under which “the Supreme Court has approved unlimited contributions by super PACs than can steal elections through widely broadcast lies.”

The black-robed Supreme Court may be clueless and tone-deaf, but ordinary white collar and blue collar workers can easily connect the dots. As Bradley puts it, “There is something fundamentally wrong when a lobbyist—whether representing business or labor—comes to a legislator’s office to plead his client’s case and then four hours later appears at the legislator’s fund-raiser in a nearby restaurant with a $10,000 check. The link between money and policy must be broken.”

What needs to be established (re-established, really) is the link between government spending and job creation: “When it comes to proposed federal action to create jobs, every dollar spent in the current environment of declining confidence in government should go to the establishment of a specific job; people have to see the connection between their tax dollars and job creation....When a government’s credibility has been damaged for whatever reason, it cannot shrink from boldness. It must act in a big way to generate more jobs with a short-term, mid-term and long-term strategy.”

Bradley lays out ideas for all three periods, and he draws on his own childhood to invoke the direct federal job creation that took place under FDR:

“What most people remember about President Franklin Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression are the Works Progress Administration, the Public Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which created jobs for Americans in building schools, parks, roads, dams, bridges. In the small town in Missouri where I grew up, the high school was a PWA project built in 1939. Today, over seventy years later, it stands as a testimony to far-sighted government leadership. We need new public investment in public goods that will last another seventy years....The New America Foundation study estimates that a $1.2 trillion investment in much-needed infrastructure over a five-year period would generate 5.52 million jobs in each year of the program. There is no other stimulus that could create so many jobs and leave behind a seventy-year foundation for economic growth. Given low interest rates, there will never be a cheaper time to float thirty-year reconstruction bonds. Government-subsidized personal consumption (i.e., tax cuts) in the current climate of debt de-leveraging cannot work; public investment that directly creates jobs can.”

Twenty-two state attorneys general, joined by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-OH), have lined up behind a Montana challenge to Citizens United.

Is there any hope for more stimulus spending? For campaign finance reform? It’s hard to imagine the former; as for the latter, it’s easy to imagine but another matter to pull off. Twenty-two state attorneys general, joined by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-OH), have lined up behind a Montana challenge to Citizens United. Bradley’s best-case solution would supersede Buckley and Citizens United with a constitutional amendment “stating that federal, state and local governments can limit the total amount of spending in a political campaign....If that were combined with public financing for whatever amount was permitted by the campaign finance laws, we would have returned government to the people.”

Right now, though, we’re nowhere near returning government to the people; right now we’re heading into the most expensive presidential campaign in U.S. history, bent on handing over government to those with the most dollars.

Copyright 2012 Gerald E. Scorse. Op-eds by the author have appeared on numerous websites and in major newspapers.

Copyright © 2012 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on June 7, 2012.


Public Service Ads: