This is kind of a political rant, so fair warning and I apologize if I offend you in advance.
Voter Suppression, media green zones like in Baghdad (and here), indefinite detention of Americans by military, the revolving door between lobbyists and government, SOPA, Congressional insider trading, shorting on the debt ceiling, re-districting to keep power - aren't we tired of this crap yet? I am. Very tired. DC and state capitals are owned and run by career politicians and lobbyists. This truly is Corporate America or America, Inc.
I have spent the last few weeks trying to decide if I should run for Congress. I spoke with several campaign people in Tampa Bay as well as a few close friends, family and advisors. Despite my being a registered Democrat - and most of the folks I spoke with being Republican – everyone was very supportive, some even a little too giddy at the idea of me running for Congress.
I bitch about politics, so I figured I needed to get involved. More accurately, I want to fix it. It’s a tall order. Either you are a part of the problem (empathy, not voting, blaming) or part of the solution. I want to be a part of the solution.
I have to tell you that what I learned is that the process to run for office is challenging. It takes a lot of money to run for office. A standard Congressional seat needs a minimum of $1.3 million dollars for staff, advertising, printing, office and travel. That's a minimum. The candidate will be asking for money 4 to 6 hours per day, every day. The candidate will be stumping, at events, at churches, in neighborhoods, seven days a week, long days, for a year. There's no way my business would survive that schedule. And anything less than going 110% just isn't in my DNA. I want to win, even on projects with clients - I want a win. I want a positive outcome.
A few people told me to start small - like a county seat - but the point is: I don't want to be a career politician! They are the problem! We have politicians, not Statesmen. It’s a Big difference.
The other problem is the national blame game. “It's the Dems!” “It's the GOP!” PUH-lease! The difference between the two parties is slim at best. Take the politics out of it and look at the issues: healthcare, education, economy, foreign policy, term limits, civil liberties and the US Constitution.
I could point out that in 1992 the Clinton Administration was trying to design a healthcare solution, but the GOP stalemated the whole Clinton Administration, like it is doing to the Obama Administration now. But that’s being political. The issue is that the elected Congress Critters are NOT doing their JOB! Stalemating isn’t governing. We have real issues in the country that need to be fixed before we begin a slide into third world status.
People forget that the US economy is service based. The Bush tax cuts put money back in consumers – not voters, Consumers – pockets. Why? So they would spend it in our economy, since our economy is built on consumers buying stuff. Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Apple, Microsoft, etc. require the US consumer to buy their stuff. And to buy more of it every quarter in order to maintain the stock price for the fat cats on Wall Street. (I won’t go on a tangential rant about how Wall Street only extracts value from the economy.)
When the Middle Class gets squeezed, there is less money being spent in the economy. I wrote a while back about how banks, credit card companies and insurance companies had reached their peaks, when the economy was humming along on the real estate bubble up to June of 2006. Since then, it has been downhill for these companies and they have to find new ways to make money from the shrinking number of customers. (That would be you!)
Small businesses don’t think about raising prices to make more revenue or how to add fees to customers’ bills to make a few extra dollars. Only public companies think that way, since they are a slave to Wall Street.
What happens when the economy slows down further??
Here’s a scenario for you: the payroll tax cut doesn’t get renewed, the holiday credit card bills arrive in January to lucky that are still employed but now with less take home pay. Whoops! Now even less money for restaurants, gas, food, lottery, etc. This cycle ends up with small businesses closing. McDonalds won’t close, but a franchise may close. Wal-Mart won’t close, but a few mom-and-pops will. BP won’t close, but the gas station owners may. Now we have more unemployment, more vacant buildings, and more burdens on society, which ripples to more bankruptcies and foreclosures. The pool of people paying for the largesse is shrinking. It’s a mess. In addition, small business is the job growth engine, not large business. As small business dies, so does job growth and the economy.
But can a freshman Congressman make a difference? Not likely alone. He or she would need help from a lot of places.
Am I going to run? Not this time. I would need a lot of money. My business would suffer. The spotlight and mudslinging would be annoying. The political process is daunting, so I am going to get my feet wet by helping others this time round. I am going to shed some light on the DC mess and make some noise (not here, don’t worry). I also may be joining these three organizations: NoLabels, Rebuild the Dream and My America.
What do you want Your America to look like in 5 years? What are you doing to get it there? The elected are not leading us; they are screwing us down the river. Ranting on twitter, FB and your blog is fun, but action is where the tires meet the road. You can make fun of Occupy but at least they got up and did something. Are you?
And voter ignorance in this country is epidemic. See here and here and here. Maybe it is head in the sand defense against so much going wrong that is out of our control or maybe it is that we are getting so dumb as a nation that we can't grasp the debt any more than we can balance our check book or maybe it is an attention deficit society looking for immediate gratification.