Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What if politicians raised money for charity instead of elections?

What if politicians raised money for charity instead of elections?

It is estimate politicians spent more than $6,000,000,000 (BILLION) on election campaigns in 2012. These are individuals who purport to seek opportunities to better the lives of the country’s citizens.

Lobbyists spent close to $4,000,000,000 (BILLION) in 2012 trying to buy favorable votes in Congress.

Theoretically, individuals and corporations spent $10,000,000,000 (BILLION) on buying votes in 2012.

When taken in context with the overall federal expenditures, perhaps that numbers is insignificant. But think for moment – what if the people that spent so much time trying to buy elections or votes from our elected officials spent that $10,000,000,000 (BILLION) on neighborhood revitalization? What if Michael Bloomberg spent his billions investing in his scarred New York neighborhoods instead of spending his political and financial capital on gun control legislation or banning large soft drinks? What if the people who spend billions of dollars trying to get our votes actually used the money they’ve earned or raised for good works instead of advertising or pandering or posturing or dirty tricks or spreading propaganda?

This just struck me as I was listening to a news report regarding Michael Bloomberg’s investment in the Mayor’s Against Illegal Weapons PAC. He is willing to put his BILLIONS behind this PAC. What if our politicians, the lobbying groups, and individuals used the money they use to create new laws abridging the rights of the citizens or to curry favor, or to gain an advantage, or to get tax breaks, or to get some pork for a state - tried to make our cities safer by creating parks, safe housing, streets where a young person in a disadvantaged neighborhood could walk to school or ride the bus without fear of being shot or stabbed or robbed, brought grocery stores to poor neighborhoods, gave people hope?

Yes, tragedies like Newton, CT are horrifying. But they are no more horrifying than the murders that take place in poor neighborhoods in our cities everyday.  I believe the people of America, the lobbyists, politicians, churches, and community organizations can do what government cannot and should not – invest in our people and our neighborhoods to make them better and safer. In this context, the BILLIONS spent by politicians and lobbyists is criminal. They should all be ashamed.

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