First of all, in order for a budget to truly represent the needs and wants and will of THE PEOPLE, they must have equal access to all the information that's being put out, by both liberal and conservative arguments, that represent the opinions of both sides - so THE PEOPLE can form a more rational consensus based on what they read in newspapers, hear on the radio, and see on TV.
PACs and super-PACs (political action committees) and "think tanks" that are funded by special interests (usually corporate interests), have been given unlimited power by the U.S. Supreme Court by unlimited campaign contributions and anonymous donations* (see below). Elections and political messages can be bought by those who have the most money and can be manipulated to control the message given to average voters.
For the time being, only independent bloggers like myself can express our views that aren't being slanted by anyone else's opinion, but is only a voice based on the opinions of others in the media. I can watch MSNBC and Fox News and see their slants on all the issues, and form my own opinion based on my own personal consensus that I form with what information I have available to me.
Personally, I would like to see the unions and corporations taken out of the equation, but rather have taxpayer-funded campaign contributions equally divided between the political parties to spend as they want on campaign ads...on the federal, state, and local levels...giving THE PEOPLE equal and opposing points-of-view to make form their own opinion and come to their own consensus on the issues. Otherwise, we'll hear nothing but propaganda by the more financially dominant force.
From the Huff Po: Here's a quick quiz. Which of the following is satire from a Saturday Night Live sketch, and which is a quote from Newt Gingrich being interviewed recently regarding his statement on Medicare and Paul Ryan's budget proposal as "right-wing social engineering goes too far":
- "Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood. Because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate."
- "I just hope the lamestream media won't twist my words by repeating them verbatim."
So much for Newt Gingrich's sage wisdom on reducing the debt, or his chances of becoming our President. Thank goodness for that!
All these deficit hawks haven't been doing "what the American people asked us to do", to borrow a favorite formulation of House Speaker John Boehner (and other congressional conservatives) who claim a mandate for shrinking government in ways that directly harm working-class families (but benefit the wealthy). These elected officials aren't so much interested in following popular opinion as they are in manipulating it for their ends.
Economist Brad DeLong talks about Simple Deficit Reduction Arithmetic: A Comment on Kash Mansouri, commenting on Kash Mansouri's post Some Simple Deficit Reduction Arithmetic.
The evidence is unmistakable that Republicans realize the budget they adopted last month that was confected by Paul Ryan is a political albatross - but the Democrats have awakened to the fact that Paul Ryan's plan is the best thing that ever happened to them, because a major overreach of this kind perfectly characterizes the Republicans' greatest weakness: hubris. The Democrats: "We have a plan. It's called Medicare".
The president could also usefully interrupt our deficit obsession for a moment to remind Congress that 13.7 million Americans are still unemployed. If setting up a mechanism for cutting the deficit in the long term makes sense, slashing it now would be foolish.
Read my post How do we restore America's middle-class? SOLVED
Glenn Beck has told you that the clenched fist represents Socialism, but he's wrong. It represents solidarity among ordinary people.
President Obama is considering an executive order that would require companies bidding for federal contracts to disclose all of its federal political spending over $5,000 for the previous two years which they now keep secret, including money spent indirectly through third party organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. The proposed transparency order would create one central database on the website www.data.gov that would list the political activities of government contractors and their affiliates and officers.
"The reaction to the executive order highlights the need for it. The Chamber of Commerce has been apoplectic over the executive order, making arguments that are absurd on their face. They have been lobbying former Chamber board member, William Daley , who is Obama's chief of staff. They claim transparency will lead to corruption in government contracting when just the opposite is true.