Senator Mark Warner (Democrat, Virginia) was featured as guest speaker at a conference hosted by the Milken Institute earlier this week. He went on to raise many eyebrows after speaking out against several traditional Democratic political party lines and challenging statements of Bernie Sanders. Over the course of his dialogue Senator Warner insinuated that the real problem with the economy and American politics is that the business community is not more engaged in policy making.
Warner cited a piece of legislation he introduced, which was rejected by Congress, that would have greatly assisted businesses – in his opinion. He then blamed the bills failure because more businesses did not support or lobby on behalf of it, going on to say that “it was probably 1/100th of the business community [that] participated.” He also challenged the business sector to become more engaged stating “I get a little tired of the business community bitching about Washington but then never wanting to get their hands dirty.”
The Senator then followed up these statement by pointing out how businesses and corporations are under attack in the 2016 Presidential election. How people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are speaking out in opposition of the “establishment” and causing a large portion of the population to loose faith in the system – as if this was something negative. “The problem is when you have candidates on both sides of the aisle attacking the corporate institution as all greedy and rich… And all not paying their fair share…all the institutions lose trust.”
A recent poll conducted by the Huffington Post shows that 80% of population is opposes Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling responsible for the influx of money into politics – declaring money = speech. I do not think there is one citizen in this country who actually believes that there needs to be more money, more business in politics. Yet this is exactly what Senator Mark Warner is advocating for. It is no secret that American politicians are extremely disconnected to the problems and lifestyle of the people they represent.
To this point, Senator Warner addressed the disconnect between society in congress. At one point asking the audience to raise their hands if they were involved in the political process. He first commented that maybe 10% of the American population is physically engaged in politics before noting that maybe 10% of the people in attendance also raised their hands. This is exactly why he argues businesses have a responsibility to become more engaged, because businesses and corporations “have an outsized ability to affect what happens in Washington, because you’re [business people are] successful.” Whereas the majority of American citizens are physically disengaged from the political process.
A recent study conducted in 2014 has revealed that for the first time in United States history, the majority of US elected officials serving in Congress are millionaires. This comes over the same time period where net income is falling, unemployment rates are sky rocketing and the number of Americans living in poverty has increased 25% in the last 8 years. According to the results of the study referenced above, whereas the net worth of the average citizen declined, the net worth of members of congress increased. Moreover the suburbs of Washington D.C. are some of the richest, most prosperous communities in the United States.
Lastly, the most recent estimates reveal that nearly over $1.22 billion dollars has been raised by Republican and Democratic candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election combined to date. This comes after the record breaking elections of 2012 which saw more than $7 billion dollars spent by candidates, parties and outside groups. Most people I think would argue with Mr. Warner that money in politics is the real problem here, not the solution
Source: The Intercept
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Good work, Anonymous!!!
Keep it up. Thank you.
Francine Dozois, Montreal