One Reason Private Money should be excluded from Politics

One Reason Private Money should be excluded from Politics

 

I went in for a follow-up visit with my pulmonologist the other day.  As it happens, the conversation took a political twist.  I made the statement that Obama should have pressed for universal health coverage after the fashion of the UK and Canada.  She replied that if we had that people would have to wait for dialysis and other forms of treatment because of the sheer numbers.  She said one would achieve equality but the tradeoff is you would make those who need treatment wait unless they can buy it outside of the system.   So, she asserted that one would have an egalitarian system but the rich would still be better treated because they would get private treatment. She is right.  Universal health care in the US would still be subpar and the rich would still get better treatment.  However, it would not be equal for under the existing system of campaign finance the US “enjoys,” the rich consisting of corporate, union and incredibly wealthy individual donors determine how and what public policy is written—laws—by using their money to pick candidates to their liking and which candidates either will do their bidding (through the use of lobbyists) or who are predisposed to their positions.   She is right because in the United States the rich make the rules, the laws, through their private contributions to politicians running for office or re-election; and, the rich finance public advertising campaigns asserting this or that.

 

Just as campaign contributing donors would write the rules for universal health care, as they have for most policies over the history of the United States, they would write the rules for the plan in this blog for distributing new money to citizens.  The growing concentration of wealth in the US (and other countries for that matter) and the growing disparity between the income of those with wealth and the rest of us, is the strongest evidence to demonstrate the validity of the proposition that if the campaign contributing donors write the rules, there will be more opportunities for them to increase their wealth even further as the plan for distributing new money to citizens is detailed and passed into law.  But what if the rich did not make the rules?  What if we made private contributions to campaigns illegal, all gifts of any kind to candidates for office illegal—call a bribe a bribe?   And we went further and make candidates spending their own money or resources on campaigns illegal?

 

So, step one in implementing the plan for distributing new money to citizens is to reform campaign election financing and take big money out of determining candidates, outcomes and public policy—make it illegal for any use of private money or resources to support an election or reelection to an office or in support of any ballot proposal.  In short, if the US is to achieve electoral equality and not have public policy favoring the wealthy, private money has to be taken out of elections.  So, my digression into campaign finance is not as much of a digression as one would think at first blush.

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4 thoughts on “One Reason Private Money should be excluded from Politics

  1. The funding of political parties seems to be an issue everywhere, Theo. At least here we do allow smaller parties some air time during elections, so even those with no money get to state their policies. Donations also have to be made public, but the truth behind that is cloudy, to say the least.

    As for medical care, private medicine exists here alongside the NHS. Whether or not it impacts on the care of NHS patients is debatable, as treatment is generally carried out in private hospitals too. Most of this private treatment is through medical insurance which is given as a job perk. It normally serves to speed up the waiting times, but does not guarantee any better care. Just a nicer room, and a choice of food.

    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Thank you for your comments. As usual they are most helpful.
    Here in the United States we live with the fiction that campaign donations do not influence legislators. Yes, we scream bloody murder at the influence and power of lobbyists. Lobbyists work for campaign contributors or else they would not have access to legislators. We have reporting by candidates of who gives what. Unfortunately, there is so much raw information it is useless for one then has to track down which firm Joe Blow who contributed a gazillion dollars represents. So, I am asserting here, in cyber space for all to see that campaign contributions are bribes to get legislators to pass or not pass specific polices of benefit to the contributors.
    I have to defer to your knowledge of your health care system. I would ask, however, if things would be the same as they currently are in terms of availability of service to everyone at the same speed as they are currently if the rich could not purchase speedier more luxurious care at their own expense or with private health insurance? I would hazard things would improve if the “elite” could not buy their way out and were not provided with private health insurance. For, there, like here, those who contribute to political coffers do so expecting policy to favor them.
    I am taking the positon that when private money is involved in elections it is by its very nature corrupt and distorts public policy in favor of big money donors.

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    1. The left-wing argument here (and therefore my argument) is that no private health care should be available using NHS premises, and NHS trained staff. Any and all private care should be carried out on privately-funded premises, by staff who have not benefited from state-funded training. This is not always happening of course, thanks to those two favourite words, ‘income generation.’
      We are led to believe that the income received from these private treatments is beneficial to the hospital or institute, adding to the funds that they receive from the state. As a consequence, you are correct in your assumption that the system remains unfair, and biased in favour of those who can pay to get up the queue faster.
      That said, it is still a better system than those found almost anywhere else.
      Regards as always, Pete.

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