Some WV politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, are good people working to help West Virginians… but others go into politics for more selfish reasons.
- Governor Tomblin, for instance, commended the proposed Antero Frack Waste facility, so a host of executives from Antero—even their wives—donated to his campaign. What spiffy tit for tat!
- In his time in the WV Senate, Republican Bill Cole made sure to pass legislation to help his car dealerships at the expense of regular consumers. What a swell way to enrich yourself at the expense of your constituents!
- The infamous and greedy Heather Bresch of Mylan is “Democrat” Senator Manchin‘s daughter. Her mother, Manchin’s wife, was the President of the National State Boards of Education, and helpfully lobbied to require more epipens at schools through a partnership with Mylan. For the federal guidelines that caused Mylan profits to soar, along with his daughter’s paycheck, the votes were taken by voice, conveniently, so there is no record of how Manchin voted. He has not denied supporting the bill, however. Mylan then fled US taxes by relocating overseas. And while US Senators received an average of $80,000 from phamaceutical manufacturers, Manchin received nearly $300K from them in 2012. Mylan in particular was Senator Manchin’s second largest donor from 2011 to 2016, and he got additional money from Mylan lobbyists.
- Republican Woody Ireland, District 7’s outgoing Delegate, pushed Forced Pooling against the wishes of the people who live in this district. On the phone, he patiently explained to me that while he had taken energy sector money, it was not any more than his opponents took. And surely the great royalty deal he got from them was just because he was a good negotiator, not because he was influenced by the money!
- Republican Jason Harshbarger, Ireland’s nephew who took over the seat in District 7 when his uncle retired, is now best known for being funded primarily by resource extraction barons. He eventually resigned to become a lobbyist for Dominion Energy. Quelle surprise!
I’m not sure I was able to get this through to him: Delegate, that’s the way it works. That’s why we can’t have this money flowing to our politicians and buying laws that benefit them, and burden the rest of us.
Corporations donate to both sides “to ensure both major parties in an election have sympathetic policies. When both major parties share a policy stance it is effectively removed from democratic scrutiny. The focus of political campaigns and media interest is on areas of policy conflict, the rest is passed over in silence. Corporations often purchase political silence in order to avoid scrutiny of unpopular activities.”
Corporations spend money lobbying because it works for them. They wouldn’t be spending money if they didn’t get anything in exchange!
Donald Trump, at a primary debate in August of 2015, explained:
“I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them and they’re there for me.”
Later, he said it more bluntly, “When I call, they kiss my ass, okay?”
It’s clear that our Democracy can’t withstand this assault anymore…
A rigged economy
Like him or not, in this instance, Trump accurately described the system we have right now. He wouldn’t have given that money if he didn’t think he’d get something in return.
Money in politics creates an economy that works better for wealthy people. And now with Citizens United, it works wonderfully for corporations, too. But it’s regular folks who suffer. In 2016 they spoke out. I’m not going to pretend that I like the choice made by the electoral college. I hate it. But I’m not going to pretend I don’t understand why they made it, either. They were demanding a change.
If you look at Trump’s cabinet, sadly that change didn’t come. How else to explain DeVos? Trump didn’t drain the swamp because it works so well for him and for people like him.
It doesn’t work for the rest of us. Regular people don’t have, as President Trump might describe it, extra ass-kissing money to wave around. So it’s a self-perpetuating system. Taxes will burden regular people more and more, wealth will continue to pour up to the already wealthy, and the income gap will grow wider and wider.
Have a look at the tax plan being pushed right now:
It’s a “poor strategy for growing our economy,” according to the WV Center on Budget and Policy.
It’s a genuinely horrifying prospect, in fact. It’s basically the disastrous Kansas experiment all over again. That “innovation” destroyed the Kansas economy and left its main proponent as the least popular governor in the nation. But hey, it’s great for rich people.
We have to demand better.
Right now, we can work as hard as we want, pay our taxes, be law-abiding, good people…but unless we’re also tremendously wealthy, facts show we just don’t have any influence on policy. That’s how we can end up with a tax increase, even though the vast majority of us want the wealthy and corporations to pay a higher, more fair share.
But we are second class citizens, as far as the government is concerned.
This is why you’re not doing democracy right if you vote for candidates who have been purchased by Big Energy, Big Pharma, Big Banks and the like.
We must get the money out of politics and restore the democratic process.