Apparently, some of the banks, business firms, and automakers that have received government bailout money, have been contributing some of that money to those in Congress that voted for the bailout in the first place.
I know, I couldn’t believe it either, but according to RawStory, it is true.
I find this absolutely ridiculous, and it pisses me off more than the fact that AIG and others were using the bailout money to provide bonuses for their executives. I mean that situation pissed me off. I haven’t written about it because I don’t feel that I have anything new to add to the dialogue (EVERYBODY’S talking about it), but at least with those jerks it was a company issue. The company was using government money to reward poor operation of the company, but there were no governmental ties. It was just another case of a corporation taking advantage of others, and really, can we be surprised at that? No. That’s what corporations do, it is what they have always done, and it is what they will continue to do if left to their own devices.
But to use some of the bailout money to contribute to campaign funds for politicians that had a hand in passing the bailout in the first place? That reeks of a whole new smell of shit. It is cronyism and bribery and should be illegal. True, the contributions are small in comparison to the amount of money given to these ass hat companies, but the size of the donation does not matter. The outrage here is not that the corporations are misusing the bailout funds, though that certainly is an issue, but how they are misusing them. How is it legal, or even okay, to give government officials money from funds that they have given to you? It is almost as if these members of Congress donated to themselves, using government money.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what they did. In an attempt to lessen the backlash against the government some Senators and Representatives have said that they will not accept donated money from bailed out companies. That’s all well and good, but I have a few questions.
One: How long will that last? These companies were bailed out now because they had to be. What happens when they become economically viable again? Will it then be okay to accept campaign donations? It seems to me that the answer will be yes, but that it should be no. In fact, I don’t think that anyone should be able to donate money to political campaigns. Campaigns should not be about how much money you have, or can raise. They should be about the issues. All candidates running for office of any kind should be provided a set amount from the government, and that should be all they have to spend. That might be a good first step in cleaning up the dirt that has crept so far into our political system that it is ruining everything. Like sand in a swimsuit, it simply has to get washed out.
Two: How is this allowed to happen? Why wasn’t there some kind of oversight that would deny these types of contributions in the first place? By bailing out these companies, the government, and by extension the American People, took control of them. That should have made it easy to prevent this kind of thing from happening, but instead it appears that it just made it easier.
Three: What is going to happen to the people that accepted these donations? If the candidate themselves did not know where the money came from, someone in their campaign did and should have taken the necessary steps to keep that dirty government turned corporate turned government from entering the campaign coffers. Chances are nothing will happen to those that accepted these kinds of donations. They might get yelled at, asked to resign or return the money, but in the end they will issue and apology, and that will be that. Unless, of course, we as Americans (whatever our political creed–we are still AMERICANS) tell them to get bent and use our power as citizens and voters to show them that we are sick of being fleeced and financially raped for the benefit of those who are supposed to be looking out for us.
The power to vote is a small and delicate one. It is also one that is easily subverted by hot button issues that really have nothing to do with the state of the nation, Homosexual marriage, or whether creationism can be taught in school, are two prime examples of distracting issues. Sure, they are important to people, and they need to be addressed, but not before things like national security, financial stability, and how to achieve those things.
It is at times like this that I am both glad and sad that I am not living in America right now. Glad because I do not have to deal with this crap on a daily basis. Sad because I do not have to deal with this on a daily basis and have no real chance to affect any kind of activity for change except through this blog which does not reach nearly enough people, and is too inconsistently updated to have much of an impact anyway.