"[T]he corrupting influence of money is the first problem facing this nation. That unless we solve this problem, we won’t solve anything else... The Framers, Lessig says, had just one kind of dependence in mind for members of Congress: a dependence on the people. He quotes The Federalist (the then-anonymous essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that are often used as a contemporary account of the Framers’ intentions) to make this point: number 52 describes the House of Representatives as that “branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone” (emphasis added).
But in the last two decades, Lessig writes, members of Congress have developed a fearsome dependency: campaign cash. The total amount spent on campaigns by all candidates for Congress in 2010 was $1.8 billion. Fundraising has become a way of life..." (via 3 Quarks Daily)
posted by caddis
on Aug 1, 2012 -
In Praise of Leisure
- "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren
.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 22, 2012 -
was one of the high society news makers in the 80's, considered by some to be on Donald Trump's level. While things have gone alright for the Donald, Khashoggi hasn't done as well... [more inside]
posted by reenum
on Dec 14, 2009 -
Many people are up in arms (heh) over the Supreme Court's decision regarding gun control, but rather less press is being given to another opinion handed down today: Davis v. FEC
. The issue was the constitutionality of the "Millionaire's Amendment"
, which allowed for political candidates facing self-funding challengers who intended to spend more than $350,000 to raise more money from individual donors than they would otherwise be allowed to do.
In a 5-4 decision, the court found the law unconstitutional. [more inside]
posted by Bromius
on Jun 26, 2008 -
HowISpentMyStimulus.com In January, Congress approved $152 billion in economic stimulus checks for millions of American households, intended to boost the economy and avert a recession. Just how this money will be spent remains to be seen. We hope this website helps shed some light on where the stimulus money is going.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero
on May 31, 2008 -
The $3 Trillion Shopping Spree.
"The occupation of Iraq will cost $3 trillion, America's most expensive conflict since WWII. Can YOU spend that money better? Here's your chance to go on a virtual $3 trillion shopping spree and prove it!" [Via Gristmill.]
posted by homunculus
on May 10, 2008 -
Billions over Baghdad.
"Between April 2003 and June 2004, $12 billion in U.S. currency—much of it belonging to the Iraqi people—was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad
, where it was dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Some of the cash went to pay for projects and keep ministries afloat, but, incredibly, at least $9 billion has gone missing, unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed. Following a trail that leads from a safe in one of Saddam's palaces to a house near San Diego, to a P.O. box in the Bahamas, the authors
discover just how little anyone cared about how the money was handled."
posted by homunculus
on Sep 27, 2007 -
How Rich is Too Rich For Democracy?
At what point does great wealth held in a few hands actually harm democracy, threatening to turn a democratic republic into an oligarchy?
It's a debate we haven't had freely and openly in this nation for nearly a century, and last week, by voting to end the Estate Tax, House Republicans tried to ensure that it wouldn't be had again in this generation.
But it's a debate that's vital to the survival of democracy in America.
In a letter to Joseph Milligan on April 6, 1816, Thomas Jefferson explicitly suggested that if individuals became so rich that their wealth could influence or challenge government, then their wealth should be decreased upon their death. He wrote, "If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree..."
posted by mk1gti
on Apr 20, 2005 -
Yesterday President Bush said,
"Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund -- in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money -- payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent." Is he advocating that the US default on its Treasury bonds?
posted by Sixtieslibber
on Feb 10, 2005 -
Campaign Contributions and U.S. Ambassadors In 1972 President Nixon appointed thirteen noncareer ambassadors to Western European countries; eight of them had contributed at least $50,000 to his reelection campaign...(-Source, scroll to item 2.) In 1980
a federal law was created to combat this, stating that ambassadors must "possess clearly demonstrated competence, including, to the maximum extent practicable, a useful knowledge of the principal language or dialect of the country in which the individual is to serve, and knowledge and understanding of the history, the culture, the economic and political institutions and the interest of that country and its people. … Contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment."Currently
1/4 to 1/3 of U.S. Ambassadors are noncareer appointees, not experienced diplomats, causing criticism since the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Critics point out that neither the Pentagon, the CIA nor any other U.S. government agency must shoulder the burden of a significant cadre of "nonprofessionals" encumbering senior field positions. (-Source.)HERE is the current tally of Embassy Row and their campaign contributions
, including Clark Randt, Jr
, former Geo W Yale fraternity brother who defended Bush against drug allegations during Bush's last campaign. "Rangers" and "Pioneers" abound. Mauritius
is sunny, tropical, and expensive
(Inspired by this AskMe question.)
posted by Shane
on Oct 14, 2004 -
Who gives how much to whom.
For those like me who have been wondering about the claim that Republicans get more of their funding from ordinary people and the Democrats get more from foundations and rich individuals here is where we can find out. So far, I have found some surprises.
posted by donfactor
on Nov 5, 2003 -
Enron's historical precidents.
This L.A. Times article discusses the historical precidents to the Enron debacle. My favorite (among lots of good stuff):
"Like Enron, ITT was a big campaign contributor. But Geneen's idea of how to use political influence made Lay and associates look like choir boys. In 1970, the company offered Republicans $1 million and consulted heavily with the Nixon White House and the CIA when Chile's new socialist president, Salvador Allende, threatened to seize the ITT-owned Chilean Telephone Co. Allende was overthrown with U.S. aid."
posted by electro
on Feb 22, 2002 -