Economic Injustice

Democracy Incorporated & Inverted Totalitarianism

“The political role of corporate power, the corruption of the political and representative processes by the lobbying industry, the expansion of executive power at the expense of constitutional limitations, and the degradation of political dialogue promoted by the media are the basics of the system, not excrescences upon it. The system would remain in place even if the Democratic Party attained a majority; and should that circumstance arise, the system will set tight limits to unwelcome changes, as is foreshadowed in the timidity of current Democratic proposals for reform. In the last analysis the much-lauded stability and conservatism of the…

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Whiny Boo-Hoo Billionaires: America’s Indulged Super-Wealthy Are Freaking Out About 2020

TURKEY ***** “There is something about the very wealthy, they don’t have enough people telling them that they are full of shit.” By Dominic Rushe The Guardian (11/16/19) The 1996 US election was all about the “soccer mom”; 2004 belonged to the “Nascar dads”; Donald Trump won the White House with a “basket of deplorables”. Every election cycle seems to have a key demographic said to define the race, and 2020 is no different. This is the campaign of the “beleaguered billionaire”. There’s a billionaire in the White House and two of the top Democratic rivals for Trump’s job, senators Bernie…


Revenge Of The Billionaires: How An Oligarchy Of The Morbidly Rich Can Take Down Democracy

This is a crisis point for our nation as real and critical as those we hit in 1776, 1861, and 1932. In each of those three cases—roughly four generations apart—the oligarchs lost the battle. This time they could win. By Thom Hartmann Independent Media Institute (11/22/19) The current issue of the Atlantic magazine founded itself in the years just before the Civil War, is ominously titled, “How to Stop a Civil War.” If we are, indeed, on the brink of a second Civil War, it’s already being waged as a “cold war,” with the occasional armed skirmish being provoked by the so-called…


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Chris Hedges: How To (Maybe) Save The Planet & Ourselves

“The corrupt system is going to kill us all unless we rise up.” By Chris Hedges TruthDig (11/18/19) If you read only one book this year, it should be Roger Hallam’s “Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse.” Hallam’s lucid and concise book, which echoes Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” says what many of us now know to be true but do not say: If we do not replace the ruling elites soon we are finished as a species. It is a cogent, well-argued case for global rebellion—the only form of resistance…


Senate Dems Join GOP To Back ‘Automatic Austerity’ Bill That Will Lead To Gutting Social Programs, Hamstring Needed Reform & Investment

By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/14/19) A handful of Senate Democrats joined forces with Republicans last week to advance sweeping budget legislation that would establish an “automatic deficit-reduction process” that could trigger trillions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social programs—and potentially hobble the agenda of the next president. The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act (S.2765), authored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), passed out of the Senate Budget Committee on November 6. The legislation is co-sponsored by five members of the Senate Democratic caucus: Whitehouse, Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Coons (Del.),…


INJUSTICE: When Justice Depends Solely On The Size Of Your Pocketbook

The ‘Justice’ mosaic on the inside of the dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol. “It’s a beautiful system for sucking money out of the people who can least afford it.”   Southern Poverty Law Center (10/5/19) Tella Barnett fears she’ll end up behind bars again if she gets behind on her payments. She’s one of thousands of people in Alabama who pay to stay out of prison. One day last March, she paid a $30 monitoring fee as well as a $40 supervision fee. She paid $40 in drug testing fees and $30 in “rescheduling fees.” “Oh, my goodness, I can barely…


Inside ‘The Corporate Coup D’Etat’ That’s Created A New, Brutally Unjust Gilded Age

“They are just looting and stealing as fast as they can as everything collapses.” — Author Chris Hedges, interviewed in The Corporate Coup D’Etat.   [Editor’s Note: Film producer Jeff Cohen has pointed advice for democrats in 2020 regarding the party’s timid, go-slow, incremental ever corporate-friendly posture. Advice, that if ignored could well assure Trump victory in 2020. — Mark L. Taylor] Status Coup (7/20/19) Status Coup’s Jordan Chariton speaks with Jeff Cohen, the founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) and executive producer of the film “The Corporate Coup D’Etat’.” Link to 19-Minute Video (Commoner Call art by Mark…


Cornered Billionaires Are Freaking Out!

Bill Gates is thinking about voting for Donald Trump, while Mike Bloomberg intends to vote for himself. By Zach Carter HuffPost (11/8/19) Since early summer, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been drawing huge crowds to their rallies, dominating the televised debates, and setting fundraising records with support exclusively from small donors. Most importantly, their surging popularity stems from their plans to dramatically expand the federal government, paid for in large part through a wealth tax. This populist turn has the rest of the Democratic presidential field scrimmaging for what’s left — namely, the support of the party’s super-rich….


After Trump Tax Giveaways The Richest 1% Close To Topping Wealth Of Entire Middle Class

  By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (11/9/19) As the wealth gap in the U.S. continues to widen, the top 1% of Americans are close to amassing more wealth than the entire middle class, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, Bloomberg reports. Part of that growing divide is fueled by President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and his relentless drive for lower interest rates. The top richest Americans had assets of about $35.4 trillion in the second quarter. That’s just short of the $36.9 trillion held by the tens of millions of Americans who make up the middle and upper-middle classes…


McDonald’s Fired CEO Is Getting Cushy $42 Million Pay Out While Many Of His Workers Depend Upon Welfare To Survive

More than half of fast-food workers rely on public assistance programs like food stamps. By Alina Selyukh NPR (11/6/19) Former McDonald’s CEO Stephen Easterbrook is getting an exit package of almost $42 million after his relationship with an employee was found to violate company policy. The size of his compensation puts a new focus on the widening gap between the pay at the top and the bottom of the corporate ladder. According to an analysis by executive-compensation experts at Equilar, Easterbrook’s exit package totals $41.8 million, which includes six months of severance pay, shares he can cash out in the future and…


Not To Worry, We’ll Just Put It On Your Tab: Trump Treasury Moves To Eliminate Rules Against Corporate Tax Cheating

Companies will avoid taxes on $235 billion in profits each year going forward. By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (11/1/19) President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department on Thursday took the first step toward eliminating remaining regulations designed to prevent corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by storing profits overseas, a move critics decried as yet another harmful giveaway to big business. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said in a statement that the 2017 GOP tax law—which disproportionately benefited the rich—rendered Obama-era rules against offshore tax avoidance “obsolete” by significantly reducing the corporate tax rate. “The corporations that got a massive taxpayer handout are getting another gift…


America’s Rich Just Scored A Triple Jackpot (And You Get To Pay For It!)

By Sam Pizzigati Our Future (10/22019) At racetracks all across America, lucky bettors every so often rake in small fortunes when the horses they pick to finish one, two, three — a trifecta — just happen to finish in that order. Last spring at the Kentucky Derby, for instance, a $1 trifecta bet returned a tidy little $11,475.30. But America’s awesomely affluent don’t have to place any bets to rake in windfalls. They’re essentially hitting jackpots on a daily basis, as a “trifecta” of timely just-released research reminds us. The first of these three newly released blasts came in late September from the…


In A Nation Where Amazon* Paid No Taxes This Year: New Jersey Students With $75 Debt Barred From Dances & Trips

  By Luke O’Neil The Guardian (10/23/19) A school district in New Jersey has become the latest to punish its students for being unable to afford to pay for lunch. The Cherry Hill school board, which oversees 19 schools and about 11,000 students, agreed last week to prohibit students whose lunch debt is more than $75 from participating in extra-curricular activities such as school dances or trips. They will also be barred from purchasing a yearbook. Previously, the board had attempted to serve only tuna sandwiches to students with debt – something that prompted an outcry and was condemned as lunch-shaming. The school board says…


Precious Slackers: Hunter Biden Is A Reminder Of The Deep Moral Rot Of BOTH Political Parties

When you are the son of a famous and powerful politician, you are showered with opportunity, whether you deserve it or not. This is nepotism, but it is also, if we are being direct, a form of corruption. Moral corruption.  By Hamilton Nolan The Guardian (10/11/10) One of the peculiar stupidities of the American political mind is its resolute refusal to hold two separate ideas at once. Our dominant political narrative is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for morons, offering only a conservative red storyline or a liberal blue storyline, with nothing in between or outside those primary color bounds. Politicians themselves, out…


The “Joker” Is A Film About The America That Inflicted Us With Trump

  Go see this film. Take your teens. Take your resolve. By Michael Moore Michael Moore’s Facebook Page (10/6/19) On Wednesday night I attended the New York Film Festival and witnessed a cinematic masterpiece, the film that last month won the top prize as the Best Film of the Venice International Film Festival. It’s called “Joker” — and all we Americans have heard about this movie is that we should fear it and stay away from it. We’ve been told it’s violent and sick and morally corrupt — an incitement and celebration of murder. We’ve been told that police will…


This Animated Graphic Tells The Tale Of Why America Is Falling Apart

“The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it? Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country?” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (10/7/19) For the first time in U.S. history, the 400 wealthiest Americans paid less in taxes last year than people in any other income group, thanks to decades of tax cuts and loopholes benefiting the rich. A year after the Republican tax plan—often called the #GOPTaxScam by critics—was passed into law, the richest people in the country were subject to a 23 percent rate in local, state, and federal taxes….


How Our Government Came To Be So Crippled By Corruption

    “As America’s political dysfunction has grown worse, the economic stagnation of the middle class has deepened. this is not a result of blind economic forces, Adam Smith’s invisible hand, globalization,or some nebulous cause. Specific committees of congress, inevitably assisted by specific K Street lobbyists, wrote legislation that achieved this result.” — Mike Lofgren, “The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went CRAZY, Democrats Became USELESS, And the Middle Class Got SHAFTED”, 2012 (p.1)


The Plutocratic War On We The People: Centrists & Conservatives Ignore The Greedy Elephant In Our National Living Room

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (9/14/19) The best analogy I can think of to characterize what passes for political “debate” in America these days, is a bunch of people stuck in a rubber life raft with a big leak hissing away, drifting in the midst of a vast ocean surrounded for as far as they can see by starving sharks, while a few “leaders” insist on arguing about 1) whether there’s a leak; 2) whether to patch it; and 3) what to patch it with. The people in the raft—who can’t hear their leaders—are fed information back from a…


YES! — “I Don’t Think Billionaires Should Exist”: Sanders Proposes Wealth Tax To Slash Unearned Fortunes Of Ultra-Rich

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/24/19) To tackle “outrageous and grotesque and immoral” levels of inequality in the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday proposed a new wealth tax on the richest Americans that economists say would slash the fortunes of billionaires in half over 15 years and raise an estimated $4.35 trillion in revenue during the first decade. “I don’t think that billionaires should exist,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told the New York Times in an interview. “This proposal does not eliminate billionaires, but it eliminates a lot of the wealth that billionaires have, and I think that’s exactly what we…


Holdouts Vow To Challenge Purdue Pharma Settlement That Protects Multi-Billionaire Sackler Family Fortune

  “Purdue has had all of its money sucked from it by the Sacklers, so the money is with the Sacklers. This proposal is … not going to require the Sacklers to pay back any profits they took out from Purdue from the sales of OxyContin over the last 10 years.” — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D). By Nathaniel Weixel The Hill (9/17/19) Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, the centerpiece of a settlement intended to shield the company and its owners from more than 2,500 lawsuits by cities and states over its role in the opioid crisis, is already facing…


In ‘Disgusting’ Move, Amazon’s Hypocritical Billionaire Jeff Bezos Abruptly Cuts Health Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Part-Time Whole Foods Workers

    [Editor’s Note: Now, keep in mind, Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 and, in fact, received a $129 federal tax rebate. All of that despite the company nearly doubling its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018, up from $5.6 billion the previous year. Bezos and two others now own more wealth than the bottom half of the country. Time for huge changes and run-of-the-mill neoliberal, pro-corporate dems like Joe Biden are not the answer for these deeply corrupted times. — Mark L. Taylor] By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (9/13/19) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday cut benefits for part-time…


Chris Hedges ‘On Contact’ — Tyranny Of The Corporate Workplace

By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (9/14/19) Host Chris Hedges talks to Elizabeth Anderson, professor of philosophy at University of Michigan, about the tyranny of the corporate workplace from non-disclosure agreements to punitive, restrictive work conditions and censorship. Their discussion comes as California lawmakers passed landmark legislation challenging the business model of “gig-economy” companies forcing companies to reclassify certain contract workers as employees. Anderson’s new book ‘Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)’, was published by Princeton Press. Link to 28-Minute Video


The Deep State Government Hiding In Plain Sight

[Editor’s Note: Be sure to watch all the way through to the end to catch Bill Moyer’s commentary. — Mark L. Taylor] Moyers & Company (4/15/16) Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, joins Bill Moyers to talk about what he calls Washington’s “Deep State,” in which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Moyers. Link to 27-Minute Video ***** Essay: Anatomy Of The Deep State In terms…


How To Become A Greedy Corporate CEO Scam Artist In Five Easy Steps

And how to stop it in five more. By Robert Reich RobertReich.org (8/21/19) Average CEO pay at big corporations topped 14.5 million dollars in 2018. That’s after an increase of 5.2 million dollars per CEO over the past decade, while the average worker’s pay has increased just 7,858 dollars over the decade.  Just to catch up to what their CEO made in 2018 alone, it would take the typical worker 158 years. This explosion in CEO pay relative to the pay of average workers isn’t because CEOs have become so much more valuable than before. It’s not due to the so-called “free market.”…


Koch Brothers EXPOSED • FULL DOCUMENTARY

The Koch Brothers Grab $16.4 Million Every Day. [Editor’s Note: Given the impact of the surreptitious Koch brothers’ machinations in Wisconsin a review of their role in American politics is in order. There pernicious influence on universities is especially dangerous. This is a good, concise review. Be sure to watch all the way through the credits at the end. — Mark L. Taylor]  Brave New Films (1/21/15) The last time we exposed the Koch Brothers’ dealings to the world we here at Brave New Films wound up in their crosshairs. They produced online ad campaigns attacking us, but, it takes more…


Greed Unbound: New Study Shows CEO Pay Has Grown More Than 1,000% Since 1978

“An obscene concentration of profit at the top levels of companies.” By Julia Conell Common Dreams (8/14/19) As even some of the wealthiest Americans have begun to call for major reforms to the U.S. economic system to narrow the wealth gap, a new study released Wednesday revealed that over the past four decades, salaries for the top executives in the U.S. have gone up by more than 1,000 percent. CEOs at the 350 largest companies now take home salaries that are 278 times higher than those of the average worker, according to the new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) analysis. With an average compensation…


John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes Of Wrath’ Documented Another Time Of American Cruelty, Greed & Oppression

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.” By Sam Jordison The Guardian (8/13/19) In March 1938, shortly before he began working on The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck wrote to his agent Elizabeth Otis to turn down a commission to write about migrant workers. “The suffering is too great for me to cash in on it … it is the most heartbreaking thing in the world,” he wrote. “I break myself every time I go out because the argument that one person’s effort can’t really do anything doesn’t seem to apply when you come…


The American Corporate Wealth Care System Is A Needlessly Complicated, Colossal Mess … That Kills

Corporate Wealthcare In The United States 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States are linked to health care financial stress. 45,000 people die every year due to a lack of health insurance. In 2017, 3.9 million children were uninsured, up from 3.6 million in 2016. Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. fell by 0.1 years, to 78.6, in 2016, following a similar drop in 2015. This is the first time in 50 years that life expectancy has fallen for two years running. In 25 other developed countries, life expectancy in 2015 averaged 81.8 years. ***** “The American health…


She Defended Her Land Against A Mine In Guatemala Then Had To Flee For Her Life

The roots of the mining industry in Guatemala are soaked in the blood of its 36-year civil war. By Alleen Brown Video by Martyna Starosta The Intercept (6/23/19) TERESA MUÑOZ WAS riding her motorbike along her regular delivery route on a winding Guatemala road, carrying the homemade cheese she sold for a living, when she saw in her rearview mirror one of the white sedans that employees of the Escobal silver mine drove. Mining company cars had followed her before, but this time, the vehicle swerved. The driver rammed her motorbike, pitching her into the street, and then sped off. Muñoz was left…


The Numbers Are In, Proving The Shady Trumpublican Tax Cut Was The Scam Critics Had Warned Of

This tax bill was constructed on a foundation of lies. By Marshall Auerback Independent Media Institute (7/16/19) The most commonly heard refrain when Donald Trump and the GOP were seeking to pass some version of corporate tax reform went something like this: There are literally trillions of dollars trapped in offshore dollar deposits which, because of America’s uncompetitive tax rates, cannot be brought back home. Cut the corporate tax rate and get those dollars repatriated, thereby unleashing a flood of new job-creating investment in the process. Or so the pitch went. Since the passage of the tax bill, the data show no…


The Creepy Epstein Scandal Reveals The Deep Bipartisan Rot Of The Nation’s Supposed ‘Elites’

  By Frank Rich New York Magazine (7/12/19) In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s indictment in New York, a number of powerful people formerly in Epstein’s orbit — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Bill Clinton, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Donald Trump — have been scrambling in the face of renewed scrutiny. What will Acosta’s exit and the new Epstein prosecution shake up, and what might they not be able to change? Perhaps at long last a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But…


I Hope Jeffrey Epstein Sings Like A Bird, Even If Some Democrats Go Down

  Wherever these questions lead prosecutors and reporters must follow. And the public must demand real accountability, no matter the answers. By Jill Filipovic The Guardian (7/10/19) I hope Jeffrey Epstein sings like a bird. The wealthy and well-connected financier and registered sex offender was arrested this week in New York on accusations of child sex trafficking. He just may bring a lot of bad men – and a few bad women – down with him. Epstein allegedly groomed and recruited dozens of underage girls, many of them vulnerable runaways, for sex with him and his friends. Despite being caught by…


Should We Abolish Billionaires? Oh, Hell, Yeah! The Sooner The Better.

  About 60 percent of all the wealth in America today is inherited. By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Blog (7/2/19) America now has more billionaires than at any time in history, while most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With such staggering inequality, it’s fair to ask: should we abolish billionaires? There are basically only four ways to accumulate a billion dollars – and none of them is a product of so-called free market capitalism. Billionaires themselves aren’t the problem. The real failure is in how our economy is organized. One way to make a billion is to exploit…


Tax Boycott: While You Pay Yours, The Wealthy — Like Trump — Get By With Paying Little Or No Taxes

On Contact: A Tax System Rigged for the Rich with David Cay Johnston. [Editor’s Note: And then when the wealthy get into financial trouble — as they inevitably do — the government rescues them with cash pay-outs, like 2008, that we pay for. The discussion also shows how economic disparity eventually leads to fascism. — Mark L. Taylor] By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT (10/15/16) On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges sits down with David Cay Johnson, author of “The Making of Donald Trump” to examine how the Republican presidential nominee and the rich are benefiting…


Words To Remember: FDR’s Letter To Corporate Democrats Will Blow Your Mind

  Jimmy Dore Show (3/29/17) Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote a letter to corporate democrats threatening to withdraw his nomination if they did not support his progressive Vice President pick Henry Wallace. His sentiments about the need for Democrats to be more progressive applies even more to today’s world. Link to 15-Minute Video ***** Full Text Of FDR’s 1940 Letter To Corporate Dems Franklin D. Roosevelt Letter to the Democratic Convention  July 18, 1940 Members of the Convention: In the century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute…


Duuh, Dems! Here’s What Neoliberal Democrats Who View Bernie Sanders As An ‘Existential Threat’ Have Yet To Realize

A centrist candidate—which, let’s be honest, means one who is beholden to the uber rich and corporations—cannot and will not address these truly existential issues. By John Atcheson Common Dreams (6/23/19) Over the past few days, the mainstream Democrats’ war on Bernie Sanders has come out of the closet.  Recent articles in Politico and the Guardian, detail how centrist organizations like Third Way have been pushing the narrative that Sanders is unelectable.  The reason, according to Third Way leaders and other neoliberals, is the dreaded label of “socialist.” There’s two things wrong with this premise. First, Sanders has been a nationally known figure…


Welcome To Trump’s Corrupt State – A Star Wars Cantina Of Republican Politics & Policy

The Corrupt State starts with Trump himself, giving new meaning to the old adage about a fish rotting from the head down. By Robert Reich The Guardian (6/15/19) Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media for conspiring to remove him from office, in order to allow the denizens of foreign “shitholes” to overrun America. But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s own…


Crime Report: Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion In Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom 50% Of Us Lost $900 Billion

“The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/14/19) Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion. Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve’s newly released “Distributive Financial Accounts” data series and found that, overall, “the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom…


The Nepotism Might Finally Be Too Much To Ignore

The idea of American meritocracy was imperfect from the founding, but it’s never been as transparently laughable as it is today. By Dahlia Lithwick Slate (6/12/19) Even in these tortured times, it is worth devoting a small sliver of outrage to the fact that Jared Kushner—whose only qualification to senior-advise the president on policy is that he is married to the president’s daughter—seems to have taken, per the Guardian, $90 million in foreign funding since 2017 from an “opaque offshore vehicle.” This influx comes via a stake he kept in a real estate company after assuming his government post, and given that the cash has…


A Commoner Writes: Demands Of Big Money Politics Block Many Promising Candidates

  Mark Taylor’s commentary [The Price Of Money: Political & Moral Defeat 6/13/19] about the disparity of funding between Clinton and Trump during the 2016 election was well constructed and informative but does not diminish the corrupt influence that money has had on our electoral process, and our democracy as a whole. Greed, PAC’s, billionaire donors have poisoned our democratic principles, and will continue to do so unless our politicians have the courage (quite doubtful) to reconstruct the funding process for political office. Here’s another problem with our current funding system. Many potential, highly qualified candidates for office often lack the…