In Wired’s Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Bets ‘Wikipedia’ Approach Will Transform Congress, I found this interesting statement:
“The problem we face is … the problem of crony capitalism using money to capture government,” … “The challenge is whether in fact we can change this. The political experts tell you that it can’t be done …”
Well, that’s EASY. I can tell you RIGHT NOW how to radically reduce the impact of cronyism in our government.
how to radically reduce the impact of cronyism
In a system of full capitalism, there should be … a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. — Ayn Rand
Little to buy when state and economy are separate
Crony capitalism is ONLY possible when politicians have trillions of dollars to spend and the power to decide which companies and industries win – and which will lose.
There would be little of economic value to buy from a government that does NOT spend trillions on defense systems, wars, health care, single-bidder contracts, schools, bridges and toll roads. A government that does NOT decide which companies will be allowed to merge or whom you may trade with offers precious little for politicians to sell. A government that can NOT ban the production or import of certain products is likewise not up for sale. A politician that does NOT have sweetheart defense contracts to hand out is suddenly a lot less attractive.
Lessig’s Promises for Legislators
Prof. Lessig wants lawmakers to make four promises he hopes will reduce the power of money in Congress.
To promise not to accept money from lobbyists and PACs
We already know how much politician’s promises are worth: To support public financing of elections
So, in order to get them to make more worthless promises, we pledge to give them more
taxes power so they can fund their campaigns without having to worry about earning donations from citizens. No thanks.
To ban earmarks
As long as Congress has trillions to spend, congress-critters will fight tooth and nail to get as much of it as possible spent in their districts and states.
And they SHOULD!
As long as the IRS has a gun to our head demanding our wallets, taxpayers will DEMAND that. And renouncing earmarks means the executive branch decides where to spend the money. Do we really want more power for the executive branch?
To compel transparency in the functioning of congress
This is a great idea and Prof. Lessig posts more details about this at change-congress.org
Get the state out of the economy
Let’s not kid ourselves with half-measures. As long as Congress has our money they will spend it in ways that serve their interests and priorities, which you should know by now often conflicts with ours. If you really want to end crony capitalism get the state out of the economy. And, while you’re at it, bring our troops home and reel in the military-industrial complex.