I was watching Huff Post Live's Shadow Convention coverage last week with Michael Moore and I got an idea. In the segment, the panel expressed a collective sigh that candidates are now forced to spend most of their time hitting the phone lines to ask for money instead of talking to voters. Moore also said that the DCCC have become so money focussed that they often base their decisions on who to fund purely on the amount of money a candidate has raised.
If candidates really are single mindedly going after corporate dollars instead of Mr & Mrs Average-Joe's vote then the US political system is in really deep trouble. I don't want to scare people here but if corporate america takes over then Mr and Mrs Average-Joe can probably look forward to living out their days in their station-wagon after the life savings were lost by their bank. And for a vacation? I'm sure they can go to the Florida coast and look at wildlife desperately flounder in a massive oil slick. They can then post their vacation photos to Facebook so it can sell them back to their children long after Mr & Mrs Average-Joe passed away after a cold night in the Volvo. Ok, I know this is extreme but its only because I think more of us really should be freaking out about unchecked corporate power.
So there I was with the above image next to Senator John McCain saying we must stop Congress being "sold to the highest bidder," rolling around my head and then I thought, why not do exactly to that to stop the advance of corporate influence?
The Federal Government already has three branches right? Well, why not add a 4th? We can have the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and then, wait for it, the CORPORATURE (catchy I know)! If we can't stop money coming into politics then let's at least make sure that we know where it is all the time. And if we know where it is then we can subject it to checks and balances just like the rest of the system. Genius.
Imagine this in the Constitution:
All corporate power will be vested in the Corporature.
- The Corporature will have fifty members and have a 6 years term unless they are bought out or taken over by one of their colleagues.
- All fifty members will be auctioned to Corporate America, or to insanely rich people, through an online auction. Proceeds from this online auction will go to set up a new charity that will help anyone who is ripped off by a corporate giant.
- They will have no voting rights, making the representative from DC feel really powerful.
- They will get get their own chamber where they can have all the free speech their money has bought them. They will also get wall to wall street coverage on CSPAN featuring their debates about increasing healthcare premiums, reducing banking regulation and drilling for oil in national parks.
- They will be forced to wear a dollar bill pin badge instead of an American flag when talking to actual elected representatives so everyone knows who they are.
- If any of them goes bankrupt, found guilty of fraud or of risking public safety they have to walk into the State of the Union address just before the President gets there to be booed and jeered for shaming America.
Finally, if any of this is actually adopted then their the chamber has to be named after me.
C'mon if the Republican's want a constitutional amendment on abortion then surely we might as well really go for it and go after controlling the money?
I know people are probably judging me right now for a) being flippant or b) if you are a member of the Tea Party you probably want to tar and feather me for suggesting an expansion of the federal government but I think I have a very, very serious point here.
America has been built on its check and balances. The separation of powers, while not always efficient has steered America well. But when corporate money is so interwoven into the electoral system and politicians are increasingly willing to defer to their corporate overlords then power is dangerously unchecked, threatens the system itself and the nation as a whole.
Let's hope a few politicians and candidates continue to watch Huff Post's coverage in the coming weeks and months and get the courage to put the phone down on corporate america and take on the job of re-balancing power in favour of Mr & Mrs Average-Joe.