Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Gov’t Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

05.24 World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned

05.24 Single-payer health care is more popular than ever. Here are 10 questions for its future.

05.24 Largest U.S. Water Reservoir Shrinks to Record Low Amid Major Drought

05.23 New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power

05.23 There Is So Much More Food Poisoning Than We Thought

05.23 Official advice on low-fat diet and cholesterol is wrong, says health charity

05.22 Taking on DuPont: Illnesses, deaths blamed on pollution from W. Va. plant [Sign this Petition!]

05.22 Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone

05.22 Nuclear Shutdowns Could Ramp Up U.S. Carbon Emissions

05.22 Scientists Say Nuclear Fuel Pools Pose Safety, Health Risks

05.22 Green really is the new black as Big Oil gets a taste for renewables

05.22 NHS chief says Brexit would be dangerous for health service

05.21 China's latest idea for cleaning up air pollution could be horrible for climate change

05.21 Brazilian strain of Zika virus confirmed in Africa, says WHO

05.21 The world's largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem [automated sailing ships are a much better idea]

News Media Matters

05.22 Pentagon Official Once Told Morley Safer That Reporters Who Believe the Government Are “Stupid”

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

05.24 Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

05.24 Hillary Clinton’s Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal

05.24 Sanders names Cornel West, Keith Ellison to DNC platform committee

05.24 'I'm not with her': why women are weary of Hillary Clinton

05.23 Untold Damage: America’s Overlooked Gun Violence

05.23 4 Gun Safety Initiatives to Watch in Election 2016

05.23 #AirBnBWhileBlack and the Legacy of Brown vs. Board

05.23 Blowing the Whistle: Former US Official Reveals Risks Faced by Internal Critics

05.22 Trump and Clinton on guns: two visions of race, justice and policing in the US

05.22 Louisiana: girl aged five shoots and kills herself with handgun at home [how is this "news", coming from a Red state]

05.22 US man shoots himself in foot while adjusting sock [how is this "news", coming from a Red state]

05.21 Establishment Dems Fight to Defeat 'Medicare-for-All' in Colorado

Justice Matters

05.24 Machine Bias

05.23 Attacking Doctors in Conflict Zones is a War Crime. So Why is No One Prosecuted For It?

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

05.24 IMF tells EU it must give Greece unconditional debt relief

05.23 Panama Papers Confirm Miami a Disneyland for Fraud

05.22 The TPP Is ‘Disastrous for Working Families’ and Central to the 2016 Campaign

05.21 ECB weighs a helicopter money-drop program to spark euro economy

International

05.24 Death of Mullah Mansoor highlights Taliban's links with Iran

05.24 No country for academics: Chinese crackdown forces intellectuals abroad

05.22 THE VIETNAM WAR IS STILL KILLING PEOPLE

05.22 Across Africa, the worst food crisis since 1985 looms for 50 million

05.22 How southern Africa is coping with worst global food crisis for 25 years

05.22 Tory EU referendum voters are switching to remain, says poll

05.22 Sexual health gets little attention in a crisis, with devastating results

05.22 Robin Wright: A-lister who’s playing for high stakes off screen

05.21 Children fleeing conflict deserve more than razor wire and border fences

05.21 Open debate is a big step forward for the reform-phobic UN security council

05.21 Brazil's interim government wastes no time erasing Workers' party influence

05.21 Brazil's new lower house leader being investigated for attempted murder

05.21 Cyclone Roanu: Bangladesh moves 2 million people from coast

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
Google
This site Web
  Print view: Dollar Dreams from 'Dollar Bill' Bradley
BOOK REVIEW:

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: