posted on May, 9 2008 @ 09:36 AM
Great thread. Thank you for bringing this issue up, as it certainly is a serious one. I wholeheartedly agree with the contention that there is
little difference between Republicans and Democrats. We have no real choices when it comes to voting in this country. The powers that be, mostly
through their control of the mainstream media, have convinced us that it is hopeless and a waste of our vote if we support a third party candidate.
They've made the issue of perceived electability a major factor in our decisions in the voting booth. The American people need to realize that
unless you are writing in "Mickey Mouse", then NO vote is a wasted vote. "Electability", or at least the degree of electability force-fed to us
by the media, should not be a factor in your decision to support a candidate. You should vote on the issues and for the person you think that
actually has your best interests, and the best interests of this country, in mind. Their party affiliation should be of little-to-no concern, unless
of course they are running as a Nazi or are behind bars!
Now, on the other side of the coin, I have to apply some common sense and reason to this issue. We are criticizing members of Congress for having
investments in major companies that are awarded defense contracts. I'm willing to bet that most people who have a diverse stock portfolio are
invested in companies that receive defense contracts. I don't think it's incredibly suspicious that anyone, an elected official or otherwise, would
have stock in major companies such as Boeing, Raytheon, GE, etc. In fact, I'm sure that just about every major company that does any kind of work
with regards to defense, computers, aerospace, etc., has received defense contracts in the past few years.
You also have to consider that when they say 25% of congress has money invested in companies that received defense contracts, it may not necessarily
be in the form of straight-up stocks. It could be that their 401k's have some of these stocks, or they have mutual funds that consist of some of
these large companies' stock. It would be an entirely different story if members of congress who made decisions on rewarding contracts purchased
stock in a particular company with inside information that they would be receiving a contract, or with the intention of giving them that contract.
That should be something that would be easily proven if it were the case. I'm sure the amounts of stock, as well as the dates purchased, held by
members of congress is a matter of public record and could be researched.
But I suppose that's neither here nor there, as it is sometimes impossible to gauge a person's intent without an admission or irrefutable evidence.
So maybe what we should be discussing is how to resolve the issue. How do we make it so that this kind of thing cannot happen? I don't think it
would be fair for us to bar members of congress from investing in the stock market. That's just not fair. So how can we regulate such investment?
Should politicians be restricted to "blind trusts" where they have no say and no knowledge of which companies they are invested in during their time
in office? Or should they be limited to investing in popular mutual funds, bonds, etc? I think that no matter what restrictions are in place, there
will always be opportunities for corruption. I think it's a matter of limiting those chances, while still allowing politicians to invest in the
market in some form. Preventing a fair level of investment could severely restrict the amount of people willing to run for office, which would hurt
us in the long run as a country. We want the best man/woman for the job. And usually the best man/woman for the job is someone who is intelligent
and successful in life. And those kinds of people almost always have investments. We couldn't possible expect them to dump or freeze everything
before entering office. Could we?
Something else that I just considered is how many government officials have money in the market through shell companies, friends, relatives, etc.,
that we don't even know about or could never even track. I'm sure there are offshore accounts, fictitious names, etc, that politicians and their
co-conspirators use to generate money while distancing themselves from it. So, in reality, this 25% figure is probably much higher, especially if it
doesn't take the holdings of immediate family members of politicians into consideration.
But what the heck do I know? This certainly isn't my area of expertise...