Corruption Undermines Missouri Democracy

Posted: June 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

We are now witnessing draconian cuts to state funded programs across the board, the most notable recent example being to the Missouri university system. Public education on all levels is taking the hit. It is not good for our citizens or society. It is not accidental. Why is this?

The immediate and simple answer is “necessary budget cuts.” Missouri legislators and administration reply, “These are the cards we’ve been dealt, now we have to be responsible money managers.”

No, these are the cards you dealt yourselves. How? Through a multi-year effort to reduce state taxes. Why this rush to the bottom when Missouri is already moving toward the basement when compared to other states?

The immediate obvious answer is the legislature. They made these decisions. So two questions: Why are they there and why are vast tax cuts part of their political orthodoxy?

The answer to both of those questions have to do with corruption and money in the state of Missouri. It undermines our democracy. This is a moral issue that affects all citizens regardless of party affiliation.

Our Legislature voted to release itself from ethics constraints pertaining to campaign contributions and lobbying gifts. And boy has the money flowed. The money has flowed from several Missouri mega-wealthy families and corporations. The money has flowed from lobbyist gifts. Big monied concerns have bought and paid for our politicians. They get them elected and keep them elected. They replace them when they don’t toe their line. We have legislative chambers filled with political prostitutes who have no accountability to their people.

These same monied power brokers pushed the agenda on cutting our already low state taxes. They pushed this agenda and expected their puppet representatives and senators to do the same – and they did. And that’s why we are facing a state-wide financial crisis. Don’t delude yourself, this is the reason.

But wait, there’s more. If you thought that was enough corruption, thank you very much, think again.

State district maps are drawn by a commission appointed by the political party in power. They draw the maps after the census. And when they draw those lines they do it in a way that sitting politicians cannot be defeated in future elections. They do not have to be responsive to their constituents. This is called gerrymandering. And it is endemic in Missouri.

How do we undo this corruption? Several essential steps must be taken. It will require a ballot measure for all citizens because you can’t put it in the hands of the fox who is guarding the hen house, the legislature and their monied Johns.

Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly.

Require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.

Lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates to limit the      influence of big money and lobbyists in state government.

Require that legislative records be open to the public.

Ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census.

There is no mystery as to why we are experiencing what we are in the state of Missouri. There is vast corruption in our system. This is a deeply moral issue that should alarm all our citizens. And restoring justice will require citizens defying the monied powers that continue to control us and persuade us that this is really all for our own good.

 

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Comments
  1. Brenda Dunne says:

    AMEN. (Found myself looking for a “like” button to select)

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