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Thread: Money & Politics in the U.S.

  1. #21
    Super Moderator Global Moderator QuackBot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Dant View Post
    speaking from the perspective of a country with recurrent party funding scandals, this is much harder than americans think. any system to limit large contributions will have loopholes. and if you close all the legal loopholes, there's always the suitcase full of cash. the american system where all the donations are out in the open may even be the best compromise possible.
    Better not think with your dick too much then.

  2. #22
    Sacul's Avatar
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    You cant make a add and say its in the name of e.g. PVV without the consent of that party. So no such thing as a PAC.
    What does happen is that lets say the United Dairy Union will make a add saying they endorse party X in their policies.

    We have one big exception in Holland, Geert Wilders PVV party isnt a political party nor organization and hence doesnt get any grants for election cycles. There hve been several rumours of him receiving large donations from the usa. If he was a normal party he would have been expelled from parliament.

    Like i said we differ from the usa so much its hardly comparible.
    -Our campaigns usually start just 4 to6 weeks before the actual election.
    -During the campaign we have between 3 and 5 national debates (tv).
    -Last number i saw is we spend 5% of what the usa spends per capita on elections.
    -About 70% vote national (no need to reg in advance so true electorate), going to 50% for municipal elections.

    One of the biggest reason USA politics is so corrupted by donations is the constant need for money. You have a perpetual campaign cycle between the house, senate and presidency.
    Last edited by Sacul; April 10 2013 at 10:36:07 PM.

  3. #23
    Alistair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacul View Post
    One of the biggest reason USA politics is so corrupted by donations is the constant need for money. You have a perpetual campaign cycle between the house, senate and presidency.
    Possible solution: Term Limits? One Term at a National-Level Office Only, then a mandatory 10 years till you can run again, and a 10 year ban on lobbying at the National level.

    Work your onw term, work it ethicly and withotu consideration for personal gain or the next election, then let the next guy have a go.

    Entrenched 30-years-in-office folks would be a nice thing to get rid of if it also helped get rid of the permanent campaign and the influence of cash donations.


  4. #24
    Straight Hustlin's Avatar
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    Personally I think you could fix alot of the problems with career politicians in Congress & the House by, 1) limiting people to a maximum of (3) four year terms, weither consecutive or during the course of a life time; If you cannot do what you set out to do in 12 years, your not gonna do it in 40. This would be inclusive of time spent in both the house & congress; But not the presidency.2) Cap the federal pay for members of congress/house to the median house hold income of the US.3) Members of Congress/House on special boards that recieve access to privledge financial information as well as their immediate family should be barred from investing in anything other then government bonds during the course of their term & for a period of 4 years thereafter. Right now there are frightening few restrictions on how these senators/reps use the information garnered from these commisions. If a senator knows that say a particular company or industry is going to lose a large subsidy from the government, or that the government is going to start a new one for a different sector, there is an obvious temptation to use that information for financial gain. By barring them from investment, you greatly diminish their incentive to do this, and it basically tells them that if they want to invest in something, they should be investing in improving the future of the People of the United States, not in multi-national corporations, nor their personal fortunes.

  5. #25
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    It seems a bit odd to kick someone out of a job they are really good at after X years for no reasons when they have popular support.

  6. #26

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    Money is nowhere near as important in politics as people make it out to be. The believe is mostly due to a correlation causation misconception; the most popular candidates generate the most donations, and win because they are the most popular, not because of the money.
    There is a much larger problem with american election politics and thats the media's complete unwillingness to do any kind of serious in dept coverage of issues and positions. Fix that, and the money becomes completely meaningless.

  7. #27
    Straight Hustlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    It seems a bit odd to kick someone out of a job they are really good at after X years for no reasons when they have popular support.
    And yet the presidency is limited to two terms for this exact reason, it is to prevent political dynasties. Unfortunantly name recognition plays as big, if not a larger role in getting someone re-elected then their effectiveness or policies.

  8. #28

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    In Canada parties are paid subsidies depending on how many votes they get. You can donate, but only up to $1,100 per individual, companies can't donate anything. The average contribution is $182. Most of that is then paid back to the contributor as a tax credit... so in the end only about 20% of total party funding is from the pockets of citizens, which is mostly small amounts from many different people. Very different to the megabux contributions allowed in the US.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devec
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool09 View Post
    in canada parties are paid subsidies depending on how many votes they get. you can donate, but only up to $1,100 per individual, companies can't donate anything. the average contribution is $182. most of that is then paid back to the contributor as a tax credit... so in the end only about 20% of total party funding is from the pockets of citizens, which is mostly small amounts from many different people. very different to the megabux contributions allowed in the us.
    And changed the back end.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Right now there are frightening few restrictions on how these senators/reps use the information garnered from these commissions. If a senator knows that say a particular company or industry is going to lose a large subsidy from the government, or that the government is going to start a new one for a different sector, there is an obvious temptation to use that information for financial gain. By barring them from investment, you greatly diminish their incentive to do this, and it basically tells them that if they want to invest in something, they should be investing in improving the future of the People of the United States, not in multi-national corporations, nor their personal fortunes.
    Very much this. iirc senators and congress are actually exempt from insider trading laws.

    Also, I think there are just way too many ways to game the system by trying to limit donations. Making some kind of nationalized thing where all parties get equal funding might work elsewhere, but that's a bit of a scary thought to Americans. Current government controlling the funding of the people attempting to be the next government? No thanks.

    The most straightforward solution (along with term limits) is to allow unlimited contributions from anyone, and require all contribution records to be made freely available to the public. Then have a zero tolerance policy for any BS involving things such as shell corporations to hide funding, or salting your list of contributors with thousands of $1 donations to hide the sketchy stuff in the noise. This gives you two advantages:
    1) It's self policing, competing candidates can now jump down the throats of their opponents over sketchy donations.
    2) In the event two candidates opt to not attack each other over accpeting sketchy donations, it's a lot easier for private citizens to spot "$1,000,000 from megacorp" than "$1000 from megacorp employee #1, $1000 from megacorp employee #2, ... $1000 from megacorp employee #999" and then raise a stink about it.

    That will also put a lot of pressure on politicians to not only not accept donations that could be sketchy, but it'll also put pressure on donors to not do shady things if they want their donations to be accepted so that their favorite candidate can win.


    fake edit:
    While I was typing this, I started thinking of something else. Say your neighborhood has potholes everywhere up and down your street. Some politician runs on a platform of fixing potholes, so your entire neighborhood donates to the guy so he'll get elected and hopefully repair the street. The guy gets elected, your potholes are repaired, so now you all donate like mad to his reelection campaign since you're happy your street is fixed. At what point does this become not ok? It would obviously be wrong if only your street with all the donors got obvious special attention, but there would be enough ways to hide it that that's not a good standard to go by.

    The best way to make sure that your street isn't getting fixed specifically because of your donations is to make sure that the politician has no way of knowing who donated to him. This seems sort of counter intuitive then, but what if there was a way to make donations work such that the politicians couldn't tell who had donated to them, and the donors has no way to prove who they had donated to? They could see how much money they're getting so they know if they're doing a good job or not, but they wouldn't know who it's from. In the pothole example, they'd know that people were apparently happy that potholes were being fixed, but not specifically which people, so they'd have no way of knowing which street to give special treatment to. If some neighborhood wanted to go out and claim it was all from them, there's nothing preventing some other neighborhood from going out and doing the same thing.

  11. #31
    Alistair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    It seems a bit odd to kick someone out of a job they are really good at after X years for no reasons when they have popular support.
    Alot of things seem odd if you like what it is they allow/do/represent.

    For example, the same (American) party who thinks the State has every right to regulate, ban or have background checks/insurance requirements/registration to engage in 2nd Amendment rights, has seemingly no qualms about allowing Voting rights to be expressed without a basic ID check of any kind at the poll. I find that kinda odd, but supporters wouldn't. /shrug

    The question was how to take money and the permanent campaign out of politics. Term Limits of a strict type would go a long ways to do that, as well as limiting the 10-term old folks who often wield all the power in congress from having such a chokehold over policy/legislation direction. It would also serve to help foster something more than the A. Republican B. Democrat system we have now. What was the re-election rate of incumbants lof late, like 95% isn't it? Think thats all about quality of Governing, when Congress has a 15% approval rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by dpidcoe View Post
    The best way to make sure that your street isn't getting fixed specifically because of your donations is to make sure that the politician has no way of knowing who donated to him.
    Love this idea.

    Maybe combine in some way with "all donations public/prosecute any BS" by listing every dollar donated only by PARTY affiliation of who it was donated to, not the candidate himself.
    Last edited by Alistair; April 12 2013 at 07:50:30 PM.


  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    It would also serve to help foster something more than the A. Republican B. Democrat system we have now. What was the re-election rate of incumbants lof late, like 95% isn't it? Think thats all about quality of Governing, when Congress has a 15% approval rating?
    Traditionally American politics have always been the party in power vs the party who's against the party in power. Eventually the ruling party gets big enough to fracture into two bitter divisions, and the smaller party that was against them is now suddenly bigger than either of the split groups alone and wins by virtue of the fact that they're not the other guy.

    The problem currently isn't so much that it's basically a two party system, but that both parties have built up enough tradition between each other to have rigged everything towards keeping the status quo.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    and yet the presidency is limited to two terms for this exact reason, it is to prevent political dynasties. unfortunantly name recognition plays as big, if not a larger role in getting someone re-elected then their effectiveness or policies.
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool09 View Post
    in canada parties are paid subsidies depending on how many votes they get. you can donate, but only up to $1,100 per individual, companies can't donate anything. the average contribution is $182. most of that is then paid back to the contributor as a tax credit... so in the end only about 20% of total party funding is from the pockets of citizens, which is mostly small amounts from many different people. very different to the megabux contributions allowed in the us.
    Anything you want to live.

  15. #35
    Sacul's Avatar
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    If anything limiting the terms in office will only up the need for $.
    Atm some dems or rep will run on such a popularity wave the other party hardly bothers campaigning. Hence less need for campaign funding.
    The problem isnt the time in office its the eternal election cycle.
    Imo

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacul View Post
    If anything limiting the terms in office will only up the need for $.
    Atm some dems or rep will run on such a popularity wave the other party hardly bothers campaigning. Hence less need for campaign funding.
    The problem isnt the time in office its the eternal election cycle.
    Imo
    That and publicly financed elections.

  17. #37
    Sacul's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity. How much was spend on the last presidential election.
    I remember a number of 1bill back when Gore-Bush jr rumbled (cant remember the source but maybe a yank can tell me its bullshit or no™

  18. #38
    מלך יהודים Zeekar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacul View Post
    Out of curiosity. How much was spend on the last presidential election.
    I remember a number of 1bill back when Gore-Bush jr rumbled (cant remember the source but maybe a yank can tell me its bullshit or no™
    Should be close to double of that.

    http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance


    

  19. #39
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    The problem with term limits for the US Congress is that it would created a perpetual wave of new Representatives and Senators. The rules and practices of legislation in the US are extremely complicated, so the newer members of Congress often look for people with more experience to help them out. Right now there are other experienced Congressmen to help them, but even now a lot of newer people on Capitol Hill have to rely on lobbyists for help figuring things out. The lobbyists use this build personal relationships and gain influence, which would only get worse if we used to term limits to decimate the ranks of experienced legislators.

  20. #40

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    well, we could consider making it a slightly less opaque, convoluted clusterfuck. And we could try to encourage intelligent people who can actually understand what they're doing to run for office.

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