Letter to the Editor, Chicago Tribune

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A recent poll showed that 96% of Americans deplore the influence of big money on our politics and want that changed. But that hasn’t happened and that big money is the mother lode that drives our national dysfunction.

After 20 little kids and 6 teachers were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school nearly three years ago, 90% of all Americans and 80% of National Rifle Association members wanted universal background checks for all sales of firearms. We didn’t get what we wanted. The big money interests blocked the will of the American people.

Jeb Bush has raised over $114 million (“Jeb Bush, super PAC raise” July 9) and a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in Chicago cost $2,700 per seat (“Major donor to Obama, Emanuel to host Hillary Clinton fundraiser” July 21). Once they and other candidates receive these enormous sums, they are beholden to the wealthy who contributed and the candidates ignore the voices of regular Americans.

That’s why we don’t have laws to help small businesses and it is why our health care system caters to powerful insurance companies. It’s why we haven’t undertaken a critical updating of our education system and it’s why we wait for bridges to collapse and kill people before repairing our crumbling infrastructure. The list of serious problems ignored by Congress is long and ugly and our corrupt campaign finance system drives nearly all of them.

I’ve spoken to groups that span our political spectrum about our legalized bribery system that gives wealthy special interests an advantage and opens the door to corruption. Not once has anyone voiced any push-back. This is a bipartisan issue. We the People want reform.

As an Eisenhower Republican, my vote in 2016 will go to whichever candidates come out in support of fundamental election reform that truly puts government back in the hands of the people. In the 10th Congressional District, that rules out Robert Dold.

All candidates can show that they are serious about this issue by supporting the Government by the People Act (H.R.20). This bipartisan bill (with 160 cosponsors) will create a voluntary system of tax rebates and other incentives for small donors to have more of a voice in elections, including public financing of our elections. I hope the candidates campaign on this reform bill to ensure politicians are accountable to voters rather than catering only to a well connected few.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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4 Responses to Letter to the Editor, Chicago Tribune
  1. Amy S. Parker Reply

    Absolutely right. Thank you for making this effort. Change clearly has to be driven by the grassroots.

  2. dominick Reply

    Jack, I suppose you could call HR20 bipartisan, with 159 democrats and 1 republican cosponsor. However, do you believe that if these politicians campaign for it, that this will somehow rally the voters in the other 246 republican districts to call their representatives to vote for it?

    We must face the fact that our representatives have no obligation to listen or respond to public opinion. This is especially true in any area concerning money in politics, or corporate profiteering. As I point out on my web site, no one is forcing them to take money from corporate special interests. These are the people have legalized bribery and insider trading for themselves. Moreover, those who speak against this immoral conduct are a minority in both parties.

    In addition, HR20 involves partisan appointments from our two corrupt political parties. It’s about as air tight for keeping big money out of our political system as cheesecloth is for carrying water in a desert.

    truedemocracynow.org

  3. Jim Altschuler Reply

    Amen Jack. Amen David.

  4. David Houle Reply

    Jack-

    I completely agree with everything you write. The one thing that gives me hope is that the two dynastic candidates you mention, Clinton and Bush are running simply horrible campaigns in spite of their money. Clinton: the optics, the over-controlled campaign and a voice that is not a speaking voice are doing her in. Bush: is that all there is? How could he be so stupid as to not anticipate a question about Iraq?

    At the other end of the spectrum we have good old Bernie Sanders. I have twice give $50 and boy am I getting my money’s worth.

    Money may buy elections, but incompetent candidates can lose them as well.

    May Trump stay in the race and continue to mess with the political party and media elite’s sense of being in control of what is proper. Except for him, all the candidates on the Republican stage looked like insurance salesman.

    David