1. How appropriate that the app would be free!!

    Even though I am a stove pipe hat Republican, I agree that the government’s responsiveness to the donor class rather than to the electorate is, if not the most important crisis facing our nation, it is certainly in the top three. The vote is a sledgehammer but campaign donations are a finely-calibrated laser scalpel that can sting, wound, cripple, or kill at the user’s will.

    I am afraid, however, that (even though I am almost always in favor of ground up, distributed power solutions to problems) this proposal would probably have the effect only of driving the process underground or of a cycle under which the donors and candidates find ever more creative ways of moving the money under the radar such that the reporting system always lags. From an economic perspective, you are trying to build a disincentive for mutually beneficial transactions between willing sellers and willing buyers, something that is almost always a losing proposition.

    What is called for, in my view at least, is something more radical. Strict terms limits. No one runs for re-election. Ever. Further, no one who has served one term in federal office may run for any other federal office for ten years, with the sole exception that the Vice President can run for President. While that would allow some corruption in the run for the initial term, it is in the later terms that the rot really sets in as donors make it easy for the candidate to avoid much of the pesky fund-raising–“let us host that dinner for you . . . .”

    Plus, no one would be in Washington long enough to “go native.” Members of Congress would still be loyal to their districts rather than to the “institution of the House,” etc.

    It would not be a perfect solution, but it would certainly make thing a lot better, and it would do so very quickly, and it would return us to the concept of citizen officials rather than a standing class of officeholders.

    • Bookscrounger

      Good points. For the ‘underground’ aspects of campaign financing that you raise, that would be addressed in yet other apps. I will cover that in a future post.

      However, I have to disagree with the term limits. First of all Edmund Burke — the father of conservatism — pointed out that statesmanship is a craft. And we proved that in Louisiana the hard way, with term limits. When the Legislators are all green, the power first gravitates to the governor. He’s term-limited too, but in 8 years Jindal just wrecked the state in order to carpet his ill-fated ambitions to the WH.

      After that? Power gravitates to the lobbyists, and the bureaucrats. They’re not term limited, so they know the system, and if they get blocked this year, they’ll be back the next year. And the next. And the next. And the next…

      So term limits limited us, while it empowered outside money, which ironically is the very thing we need to get rid of.

      • Durl

        Term limits AND reform on lobbying. We really need to do something different because the system we are working with now is so broken, and so influenced by corporate money and NOT the will of the voters.

  2. Eddie Cazayoux

    I am not for term limits because if we ever find a statesman who will represent the people, and that would be a big if, we will not want to get rid of him. I like the APP and it would work. Thanks Joe.

    • Bookscrounger

      Thanks for the comment, Eddie. Please share with any Berners out there…

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