Lobbying

Lobbying.

Without a doubt, the lobbying of politicians has turned into the bribing of politicians. When you hear the word “lobbying” you might as well substitute the word “bribing.” Billions of dollars are given to political action committees and politicians so they will do what the big-money bribers want. This type of lobbying needs to be outlawed. There's nothing wrong with the constituent asking their representative to do something that favors their community. But the lobbying system itself has become a sellout to the bribers with the most money. Not for the good of the nation.

Under the current laws and Supreme Court decisions, illegal corruption is only if someone stuffs cash in an envelope and exchanges it for explicit favors — but not most soft forms that the Bribers use to purchase influence and access. Industries can use super PACs and “independent expenditures” to effectively bankroll the campaigns of compliant legislators — as long as the quid pro quo is not explicitly written down.

There are over 1,500 paid lobbyists in Washington DC to make sure that in some cases we pay ten times more for the medicine America needs. The United States is the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee healthcare for old people. Some 60,000 old people die each year because they were denied the healthcare procedures they needed. We have the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and a pharmaceutical industry that bribes politicians.

The original purpose for lobbying was good. It has been subverted by money. The original process of influencing (lobbying) public and government policy by the citizens for a positive change is a necessary and good endeavor. Meeting with a representative and laying out facts for or against something is good. But giving a politician money, or favors were never intended to be used as a means of intimidation. This sounds crazy, but currently, if you meet with your Representative over lunch you can not buy him/her a hamburger; that would be considered a bribe. But if give him/her a million dollars under the table; it is not considered a bribe. Only the rich are allowed to bribe Politicians. Under the current laws and Supreme Court decisions, illegal corruption is only if someone stuffs cash in an envelope and exchanges it for explicit favors — but not most soft forms that the Bribers use to purchase influence and access. Industries can use super PACs and “independent expenditures” to effectively bankroll the campaigns of compliant legislators — as long as the quid pro quo is not explicitly written down.

Here is a well-known event: In 2018 the Republicans sought a bribe from Billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The legal bribe was made when, according to two senior Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan flew to Las Vegas to meet with the billionaire at his Venetian Hotel. Also with Ryan was Corry Bliss, who oversees the super PAC; and Jake Kastan, Ryan's No. 2 political aide. They laid out a case to Adelson about how crucial it is to protect the House from the Democrats. As a federally elected official, Ryan is not permitted to solicit seven-figure political donations. When Ryan (R-Wis.) left the room, Coleman ask and secured the $30 million contribution. So Ryan didn't directly ask for $30 million, but he made the entire case for it. Paul Ryan, at the time the country's second most powerful elected official, promptly leaves the room so the bride could be made. The Republican Supreme Court rulings say this is perfectly legal.

We have a corrupt political system where anyone who has the money to bribe politicians can start a Super PAC. Politicians can start their own Super PAC to take bribes. Super PACs help fund campaigns to the point that have unlimited amounts of money to elect candidates. It is an absurd situation with Super PACs frequently spending more money than the candidates themselves.

Scientists tell us if we don't get our act together now, the planet we're going to be leaving our kids and future generations will become increasingly uninhabitable. All because politicians take bribes without any concern for the future.

The United States is the only developed country in the world that spends twice as much money per capita every year on healthcare. Over a trillion dollars more than any other country and actually receives worse outcomes. We are the only country in the world where there is a bloated insurance industry sucking the money out of the system. Over five hundred thousand Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills – America is the only country where this happens. We're the only country in the world where pharmaceutical prices are tens of times higher than anywhere else in the world. The reason for the high costs is that the Supreme Court legalized bribery – they created the Bribe System. There is an absolutely mind-boggling amount of money floating around between industry, government, and politicians that eventually lands in the pockets of billionaires.

The OpenSecrets Organization reports the amount the healthcare industry spent bribing congress in 2021 was $689,466,798. That is money given to Congress Members and Senators for favors. In 2020 the amount the industry extracted from us was $543 Billion Dollars. This is money that has been stolen from the American people and our economy.

The Bribe System also costs lives. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published in June 2022 estimates “that a single-payer universal healthcare system would have saved about 212,000 lives in 2020.” They also report that an expected $438 billion dollars can be saved per year by having single-payer universal healthcare during a non-pandemic year.

Republicans cry “socialism” to scare and distract the public from the fascism they are promoting and implementing. Every single Republican in the US House and the United States Senate is all on the take from the healthcare industry and any lobbyist who will give them money. They are all on the take from the healthcare industry and virtually every industry by the right-wing billionaires who believe that socialism will make their taxes go up because they don't want to pay for it. If you're a billionaire or large corporation that pays no taxes and knows that for every dollar they give to a politician they receive back one hundred dollars in tax-free income, wouldn't you want to defend the status quo?

The corrupt Republicans on the US Supreme Court repeatedly say that money is the same thing as speech, and therefore, it is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Corporations are the same thing as people, therefore corporations (instead of people) are protected by the Bill of Rights. This is so wrong, it actually goes against what the Constitution says. It currently is a broken system, we have to overturn Citizens United and we have to reclaim our sovereignty as a nation.

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Talking Points Information

A small number of 27 rightwing billionaires today run the show. They basically own the GOP and thus the ability to block most positive and forward action that will help the public good.