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Tim Blagg

Runaway political spending

Nation must address this problem

Well, after tomorrow, the incredible flood of political baloney will at least subside, although we can count on being harassed by the losing side for quite awhile.

This has got to stop.

Although you can make a case that at least some segments of the economy (TV stations, small commercial production companies, etc.) benefit from the billions that were poured into political advertising over the past few months, the fact is that it’s an enormous waste of time, energy and money.

Some of the problem stems from the Supreme Court decision called “Citizens United,” which essentially opened the floodgates of corporate money.

Although there is a groundswell of effort to reverse the case through a constitutional amendment, that’s an uphill battle, at best.

That decision was just plain wrong.

Sorry, but corporations ARE NOT people and no bunch of black-robed jurists is going to convince me otherwise.

Not only is the law bad, but the law it’s based on is bad. Back when the high court first considered the question, in a limited way, railroads were the big bad boys of the land. The case involved a railroad and I’m told that although the justices ruled against the idea, their clerk, a former railroad lawyer, wrote the opinion in such a way that it seemed to support it.

At any rate, regardless of the precedent, the decision has skewed our political system, which was already suffering from an over dependence on money, so badly that it seems doomed.

I don’t believe that the American public needs to be blasted by an endless series of negative ads to be informed about who’s running and what the issues are.

There are other, much better ways of educating them ... this newspaper, of course, being one of them.

The ads don’t teach, they distort.

Now I’m not advocating banning them, of course not. But if we could figure out a way to limit the money spent, I think we all would benefit.

And, as I’ve written before, I’m a big advocate of term limits. Think about it ... we have term limits in many states for state offices, particularly for governors, and even have a term limit for president.

Why can’t we do the same for Congress?

Again, it’s a Supreme Court decision that prevents us from keeping people from spending their entire lives inside the Beltway, insulated from the real world, making decisions that affect us all, while meanwhile frantically soliciting money from the very people they are supposed to be regulating.

Enforced changes in the membership would, I think, be an improvement.

Blagg has been Editor of The Recorder since 1986. He lives in Greenfield and is a military historian with an interest in local history. He can be reached at: tblagg@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 250.

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