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An idea to end corporate lobbying.

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posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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I posted this in another thread but thought it deserved it's own so that more would see it and be able to discuss it without derailing the other one.

I've been thinking about a way to stop corporate lobbying and ensure votes are made for the people and I think I've come up with something. The answer is that we the people need to do the same thing to our members of congress that the corporations are doing for votes. Namely... flood them with wealth.

So here's what I propose:
1. Dramatically increase pay for members of congress. Rather than them earn $174,000 per year I propose they earn much more on the order of lets say 8 million per year tax free and index this rate to inflation (it's important that congress can't vote itself a raise in this system because the time it takes to hit the wealth cap in point 2 needs to remain mostly fixed).

2. Institute a wealth cap on members of congress effective from the day they enter office until 20 years after the day they leave office. This wealth cap would be quite generous, but it would impact some of the richest in the country. If they're earning 8 million per year lets say the wealth cap is 100 million. This cap would again be indexed to inflation so it would slowly increase over time. Anything a member of congress or their immediate family had over this cap would go back to the state.

3. If a congressman is caught committing a felony during their years in office or up to 10 years after leaving office, they lose all of the money as well as being subject to any applicable prison time.

4. Encourage insider trading for members of congress. Insider information is a natural consequence of their job, rather than try to prevent it, instead incorporate that aspect into the system as a hidden pay bonus.

Now, this probably sounds insane, so let me point out what these rules would do. Between pay and trading a member of congress would hit their wealth cap in approximately 10 years. This creates a backdoor term limit by providing a huge financial incentive for their first decade of service, but nothing after a certain amount of time has passed and they've accumulated wealth. In the house with it's 2 year elections this would mean a politician has a very major reason to seek reelection and do the will of the people for 8 out of his 10 years in office. In the Senate they would want reelection and be on the side of the people for 6 out of 10 years.

The wealth cap ensures that lobbyists lose a lot of power. They can no longer provide long term financial incentives to a member of congress. Instead of giving them a high paying job upon leaving congress, that senator/representative will instead find themselves at the wealth cap meaning they either work for free (unlikely) or they spend their time relaxing as one of the richest in the nation. Lobbying currently preys on the idea that a member of congress still needs to support themselves and maintain a nice lifestyle upon leaving office, by paying extremely well this ceases to become a concern.

The amount they're being paid has two purposes. First of all, by paying them very well, they're less likely to look for alternative revenue generators. Second and more importantly, it's an attempt to make lobbying prohibitively expensive. If a corporation wants to buy legislation in the senate they need 51 votes and in the house they need 218 votes. When representatives are only being paid $174,000 they can be bought off with gifts of $20,000 or so as has been seen by various documents that have leaked, assuming this ratio of paying 13.6% of a salary remains more or less constant (and this remains unlikely as there's now a much bigger financial incentive to get reelected) they would instead need a gift of $816,000 to buy a vote. It would cost a corporation 41 times as much in order to buy votes.

The best part of the system? It puts more money into the hands of congress in both the short and long term. This means that unlike bills such as campaign finance reform which seek to starve a politician they would actually pass this as it's to their benefit.

I'm sure someone will wonder about the cost of this, afterall it's proposing throwing around millions and millions of dollars. That's the real beauty of this system, over time it would cost us less. Initially there's the issue of 6 million*535 congressmen or $3,210,000,000 (that's 3.2 billion). However once you divide that among the population of 310 million people that's only $10.35 per person. Would you pay $10.35 more on your taxes in order to put an end to corporate lobbying? I would. There's another benefit here too, because members of congress would now be writing better legislation rather than corporate giveaways we would get a more efficient system, saving us much more than that $10.35 which means that in the end it would lower our taxes.




posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 05:44 PM
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Heres one.

Cut term limit down to one term.

Lobbying becomes expensive, and party diversity could thrive.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 06:02 PM
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Originally posted by benrl
Heres one.

Cut term limit down to one term.

Lobbying becomes expensive, and party diversity could thrive.


That's nice in theory, but in practice it can't happen. No congressman is going to vote themselves to a limit of one term because they've got an easy job where money flows to them for doing nothing. Then when they leave, they still have to worry about supporting themselves. If anything this opens the door to more lobbying because you would have more congressmen looking for work when their 2/6 years are done.

It's a corrupt system where money is the only thing that matters, but short of a bloody revolution it's the system we're stuck with. So why not work within those constraints? Corporations can't compete with the spending power of 310 million people. We each spend $10.35 and to match our dollars a corporation would have to spend 176 million dollars (compared to the roughly 5 million today), and that's for every piece of legislation they want a vote on. They can't compete, and even if they could we could instead each spend a mere $20 (or vote the other guy in... people tend to be more critical of higher paid individuals) and the corporations would be priced out once more.
edit on 20-8-2013 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 

Most of the lobbying techniques are illegal they are bribes and they all should be locked up. Anyone who takes anything from any company or organization while in office should be locked up. of course they now can buy elections so what is the point...we should just take everyone and lock them all in a fema camp!
edit on 20-8-2013 by Char-Lee because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 06:22 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 


lol... just lol.

You claim that idea would never work... Yet your No.1 idea would NEVER work.

Ever heard of living within your means?
No? Don't think so... Not a lot of people do.

If you gave a congressman/woman an $8M Salary, then they would just up their living class to suit the $8M income and then surpass it.
When they surpass it, they look to supplement their income.
Where do you think those supplements come from?

I prefer the idea of 1 term limits... And have those terms a maximum of 2 years.
If you get a new person in there every year, companies may not be so quick to chuck a couple million dollars around.

But as I have said constantly...
Install a Perfomance Review system into your political operations.
Have 6 months and 12 months reviews of your political members and see if they are doing as they say.
If they are, they continue out their term limit. If they aren't, then they get booted and someone else replaced them.

There just needs to be accountability where there currently is none.
edit on 20/8/2013 by Sovaka because: (no reason given)

edit on 20/8/2013 by Sovaka because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by Sovaka
reply to post by Aazadan
 


lol... just lol.

You claim that idea would never work... Yet your No.1 idea would NEVER work.

Every heard of living within your means?
No? Don't think so... Not a lot of people do.


Yes actually, and I thought of that. If 8 million is too low, push it upwards a little, it costs the people pennies a month. The point is to pay enough that corporations can't afford to give all the exiting congressmen well paying jobs. Congress members aren't going to take a pay cut to go from congress to being a lobbyist. Currently they get a pay raise. The majority of people making several million dollars per year don't live paycheck to paycheck, and if they know there's a cap on net wealth, accumulating assets like yachts, mansions, strong investment portfolios, and so on all counts against that cap, so even as they spend their pay there's a limit to how much they can acquire and obtain more of. The wealth cap is what makes the whole thing work as it places a hard limit on the assets they can have.

We will never get congress to vote on actual term limits, especially 1 term. At 1 term limits as the sole deciding factor on getting elected, everyone could run saying they're for a 1 term limit, then turn around and vote against it. They get voted out after 1 term but that's the same result as if they had voted for the legislation in the first place. This atleast backdoors some limits in the form of how long they can accumulate wealth.
edit on 20-8-2013 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 06:52 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 


It doesn't at all... Do you think all the illegal contributions and bribes they get are actually reported to your IRS?
You are in denial if you think it does.

The point is, they WILL rip the system as far as they can legally, then they will just go to the back channels as per normal.
All you will be doing is giving them more legal money.

True to an extent it MAY prevent new members of congress from taking up bribes and the likes... but you first need to purge the oldies that know how to work the system.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by Sovaka
reply to post by Aazadan
 


It doesn't at all... Do you think all the illegal contributions and bribes they get are actually reported to your IRS?
You are in denial if you think it does.

The point is, they WILL rip the system as far as they can legally, then they will just go to the back channels as per normal.
All you will be doing is giving them more legal money.

True to an extent it MAY prevent new members of congress from taking up bribes and the likes... but you first need to purge the oldies that know how to work the system.


Wealth caps solve that issue in time. It doesn't force very many out immediately (very few are "Romney rich") but over a period of lets say 10 years as they accumulate wealth, they'll get pushed out of congress because they're no longer making money doing it. Solutions are never instantaneous silver bullet answers (though that's typically what the population wants). Over time this would fix things rather than allow them to become even more corrupt. One shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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We will never be safe as long as corporations exist. Far too much concentration of capital and power. And that absolute power and capital lead to absolute corruption. Enough to destroy a republic.

I vote we de-incorporate (kill) every single corporate entity in the country.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:08 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 


Umm wrong?
They would STILL be making $8M per year... Correct me if I am wrong, but a family of four can live quite comfortably on $250,000 per year both before and after tax.

Why on Earth does anyone NEED $8M per year salary?
I can tell you... Those fat big wigs that accumulate wealth for the want of status and power.

Do you REALLY think that these "austerity" measures you think would word, would actually work?

No... I don't think so.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 


Term limits.

Pay them the same rate as a GS.

Give them the same health insurance as the rest of us.

They aren't "special". They aren't "better". They aren't "smarter", "wiser" than the rest of us.

As a matter of fact, I'm all for a "Bitch-Slap" Congress day. (Maybe extend it for a month or two)




posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:11 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 


Not a bad idea overall. It has some kinks to work out, but I think getting people to agree with it will be tough. Everyone has their own way and the only people that can decide this is the congress. Therein is the problem. We would have to get a constitutional amendment passed by all the states.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:23 PM
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Once upon a time it actually MEANT something to be a member of congress, it was a mark of distinction rather than one that immediately sparks derision as it does now. You really want to get this mess sorted out, the following would get it started in short order:

* Term caps for all elected officials, they can serve no more time in their office than the President can in the WH
* All forms of lobbying outlawed, all campaigns are financed at a fixed amount provided by the government.
* Congressional pay is dropped to minimum wage and will remain there.
* Attendance - each member MUST attend at least 80% of all votes or else they face removal from office

Making them actually work is of course highly unpopular, and busting their pay down to the level of those who are most harshly impacted by their decisions could probably only be done by gunpoint. The sad fact of the matter is there is nothing we can do to make them actually earn the piles of cash they get paid to sit around and say "yes/no".



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:27 PM
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Originally posted by beezzer
reply to post by Aazadan
 


Term limits.

Pay them the same rate as a GS.

Give them the same health insurance as the rest of us.

They aren't "special". They aren't "better". They aren't "smarter", "wiser" than the rest of us.

As a matter of fact, I'm all for a "Bitch-Slap" Congress day. (Maybe extend it for a month or two)



While that might feel nice. Congress is in charge of making the rules for congress. They would never pass a bitch slap congress day, or vote themselves a decrease in pay. When dealing with congress you need to think about game theory and apply various parts of it to all dealings with them. Each one of them will make the decision that's best for an individual member. They may not be special, better, smarter, or wiser than the rest of us but they are more powerful and that power brings people that will exchange favors with them.



Originally posted by ExPostFacto
reply to post by Aazadan
 


Not a bad idea overall. It has some kinks to work out, but I think getting people to agree with it will be tough. Everyone has their own way and the only people that can decide this is the congress. Therein is the problem. We would have to get a constitutional amendment passed by all the states.


I believe congress would pass something like this, almost unanimously (a couple super wealthy holdouts would oppose it... I would be all for writing special exemptions to those specific members of a higher wealth cap to even get them on board) so trying to go through the states (which will never work) wouldn't need to happen. Why try to hold a congress seat for 20-40 years just to retire with maybe 10 million dollars? They could work 1/2 to 1/4 as long and retire with 10 times the wealth while freeing themselves from corporate chains that they only accept for much needed money.


Originally posted by Helig
* Term caps for all elected officials, they can serve no more time in their office than the President can in the WH
* All forms of lobbying outlawed, all campaigns are financed at a fixed amount provided by the government.
* Congressional pay is dropped to minimum wage and will remain there.
* Attendance - each member MUST attend at least 80% of all votes or else they face removal from office

Making them actually work is of course highly unpopular, and busting their pay down to the level of those who are most harshly impacted by their decisions could probably only be done by gunpoint. The sad fact of the matter is there is nothing we can do to make them actually earn the piles of cash they get paid to sit around and say "yes/no".


This puts in softcaps and prices lobbyists out of the game.

As I said before, if you pay congress less they're just going to look elsewhere to make money. It's the same concept as paying your vital employees a lot in business. Upper management always makes much more than everyone else, and that's because they have information vital to the business. You want to keep them there, and you want them loyal. Paying congress more is an extension of that idea. If they have more money, they're less likely to look for more sources of funding (and even if they do a cap on net wealth limits how much they can walk away with).

If the people seek to have an adversarial relationship with congress, that's exactly what they're going to get. When it's the people that are setting them up for life rather than the corporations though, we would get better results.
edit on 20-8-2013 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:30 PM
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Originally posted by Aazadan

Originally posted by beezzer
reply to post by Aazadan
 


Term limits.

Pay them the same rate as a GS.

Give them the same health insurance as the rest of us.

They aren't "special". They aren't "better". They aren't "smarter", "wiser" than the rest of us.

As a matter of fact, I'm all for a "Bitch-Slap" Congress day. (Maybe extend it for a month or two)



While that might feel nice. Congress is in charge of making the rules for congress. They would never pass a bitch slap congress day, or vote themselves a decrease in pay. When dealing with congress you need to think about game theory and apply various parts of it to all dealings with them. Each one of them will make the decision that's best for an individual member. They may not be special, better, smarter, or wiser than the rest of us but they are more powerful and that power brings people that will exchange favors with them.



Originally posted by ExPostFacto
reply to post by Aazadan
 


Not a bad idea overall. It has some kinks to work out, but I think getting people to agree with it will be tough. Everyone has their own way and the only people that can decide this is the congress. Therein is the problem. We would have to get a constitutional amendment passed by all the states.


I believe congress would pass something like this, almost unanimously (a couple super wealthy holdouts would oppose it... I would be all for writing special exemptions to those specific members of a higher wealth cap to even get them on board) so trying to go through the states (which will never work) wouldn't need to happen. Why try to hold a congress seat for 20-40 years just to retire with maybe 10 million dollars? They could work 1/2 to 1/4 as long and retire with 10 times the wealth while freeing themselves from corporate chains that they only accept for much needed money.


The power congress weilds is only what we allow them to have.

(food for thought)



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:37 PM
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reply to post by beezzer
 


Exactly... Stop giving and start taking!



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:38 PM
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Originally posted by beezzer
The power congress weilds is only what we allow them to have.

(food for thought)


That's the theory behind our political system, but the reality is much different. Our rights are getting shredded more and more each day, and the legislative branch is in large part responsible for that (the executive branch is no doubt to blame too, but they don't act alone). When the government wants to do something these days, they simply do it. If it later gets struck down as illegal who cares? They already got what they wanted out of it.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:41 PM
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reply to post by Aazadan
 


And your solution is to throw more money at it and hopes it goes away?

Good plan Jnr.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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This puts in softcaps and prices lobbyists out of the game. As I said before, if you pay congress less they're just going to look elsewhere to make money. It's the same concept as paying your vital employees a lot in business. Upper management always makes much more than everyone else, and that's because they have information vital to the business. You want to keep them there, and you want them loyal. Paying congress more is an extension of that idea. If they have more money, they're less likely to look for more sources of funding (and even if they do a cap on net wealth limits how much they can walk away with). If the people seek to have an adversarial relationship with congress, that's exactly what they're going to get. When it's the people that are setting them up for life rather than the corporations though, we would get better results.


There is nothing wrong with the money grubbing worms looking elsewhere, hopefully they end up in some place they can't do as much damage. Its not supposed to be a money making job, its supposed to be a calling, an honor and not just another resume entry. To be completely honest we can never hope to pay congress as much as the corporations who really call all the shots pay them, they have far more money to use to buy influence than the common person can ever dream of having.

As for an adversarial relationship that is pretty much unavoidable; they are the ones crafting laws like the PATRIOT ACT among others that curtails freedoms. They are without a shadow of a doubt the natural enemy of a free people because they strive at every turn to strip us of our freedoms and turn us into little more than cattle to be milked for dollars and labor.




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