Newspaper logo  
 
 
Bookmark and Share
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

04.16 Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

04.13 Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.21 Saving Planet Earth & Stop Climate Change - Full Documentary

04.21 Corn biofuels worse than gasoline on global warming in short term – study

04.21 Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights

04.21 Telltale Rainbow Sheens Show Thousands Of Spills Across The Gulf

04.21 ROUGH FORECASTS

04.21 CHEMICAL VALLEY

04.20 Has Al Gore been Vindicated? The Former VP speaks out on Climate Menace In Hawaii

04.20 Far More Asteroids Have Hit The Earth Than We Thought, Astronauts Say

04.17 America Could Get More and More Super-Freezing Winters [graphs]

04.17 The Neoliberal Turn in American Health Care

04.17 “Awesome in its evilness”: How to make GOP pay for its Medicaid nightmare

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

04.19 Obama's First-Amendment Defense of Political Liars

US Politics, Policy & Culture

04.20 The mentality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI undergirds today’s surveillance state

04.20 Scientists Successfully Teach Monkey Theory of Evolution

04.18 G.O.P. Discovers Useful Voter Outreach Tool: Gun Sweepstakes

04.18 9 Maps that Show How The GOP is Destroying Southern States

04.17 How Rand Paul Bailed on His Bold Plan to Reform Big-Money Politics in Washington

04.17 Resegregation in the American South

04.17 U.S. States Revive Debtors’ Prisons

04.16 Study: American policy exclusively reflects desires of the rich; citizens' groups largely irrelevant

04.16 5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan’s Taliban

04.16 Rick Perry Dismantled Texas' Public Integrity Unit. Now He's Facing a Grand Jury.

04.16 7 Reasons U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.20 Banks Cling to Bundles Holding Risk

04.20 Wall Street deregulation pushed by Clinton advisers, documents reveal

04.20 Abigail Field: Our Corrupt Tax Code

04.19 Bill Moyers on America’s Mad Dash Toward Oligarchy [2:56 video]

04.19 What the 1% Don’t Want You to Know [24:30 video w/ transcript]

04.19 Casinos and Offshore Gaming Sites Furiously Battle Over Billions in Gambling Revenue

04.18 Salvation Gets Cheap

04.18 Inequality and the Inevitable Collapse

04.18 Privatization is a Ramp for Corruption and Insouciance is a Ramp for War

International

04.21 Cheer up – a renewed left is coming

04.20 Celebrating Easter? Which Contradicting Biblical Account of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Are You Going to Pick?

04.19 5 Things to Know About How Corporations Block Access to Everything from Miracle Drugs to Science Research

04.18 Ukraine crisis: Deal to 'de-escalate' agreed in Geneva

04.17 US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides

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: