A Vehicle for Political Reform, ATLP
Many Americans are unhappy with our dysfunctional government and the inability to change bad legislation. Elections do not change the direction of our country. To many of us, the factor limiting change is money in politics. Lobbyists provide money to both parties, control both parties and therefore our government. Let’s look at the proof which abounds in the legislative record.
The Glass Steagall Act was enacted after the Great Depression to prevent another banking collapse. Wall Street bank lobbyists spent $300 million to repeal it. The repeal process was started by President H.W. Bush and completed by President Clinton in 1999. In 2008, just nine years later, Lehman Brothers crashed and set off a great worldwide financial crisis requiring taxpayer bailouts in many countries for “banks too big to fail”. In addition to taxpayer costs, many people lost their jobs and homes.
The North American Free Trade Act, NAFTA, was first negotiated by President H.W. Bush in 1992 and later enacted by President Clinton in 1999. It induced the transfer of manufacturing plants to Mexico and cost many Americans their jobs. NAFTA has been helpful to international corporations, but hurtful to American workers in manufacturing industries. As Michelle Alexander points out in her book, The New Jim Crow, African Americans were disproportionally hurt by the loss of industrial jobs. NAFTA legislation was passed with the support of both parties.
Pharmaceutical companies spent $900 million lobbying Congress over 10 years. Legislation was quietly passed prohibiting the administrators of Medicare D from negotiating discounts on brand name medication. People sent their prescriptions to Canada, but within a year another law was passed making it illegal to get brand name medications from Canadian pharmacies. Consequently Americans spend a whopping $300 billion on medication yearly. Healthcare costs are an astounding $2.7 trillion a year. They were a major issue during the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections. However, candidates from both parties were largely silent about these laws that are crushing Americans with the highest healthcare costs in the world. They were silent because it was difficult to criticize laws endorsed by their own parties, the syndicates.
Such pharmaceutical laws contradict government responsibility for consumer protection and promotion of competition. Such laws expose the hypocrisy of syndicate incumbents who voted for these laws and yet claim they want to cut government regulation, promote free trade and provide affordable healthcare. Remember also, the taxpayer pays for prescription medication for teachers, firemen, policemen and all other city, county, state and federal employees. These laws not only increase consumer costs, but they either increase government budget deficits or cause higher taxes.
The point to be made is that voting out one party did not change legislative outcome in any of the above examples. Both syndicates are controlled by the same lobbyists.
Another factor causing misrepresentative government is that Wall Street banks are no longer American banks. They are international banks concerned about their investments in Asia, South America and elsewhere. When American manufacturing plants are relocated overseas, these banks invest overseas. It is not their concern that American workers must compete with workers in emerging countries who work 16 hours a day, six days a week with poor wages and benefits. The lesson is that what is good for Wall Street banks is not necessarily good for American businesses or workers. In addition, what is good for Wall Street banks is not good for the bailout squad, we the taxpayers!
Wall Street banks and other massive international corporations have bought almost total legislative control by bankrolling the Democratic and Republican parties. Defeat the sell-outs of one syndicate and we get the sell-outs of the other syndicate.
There is an obvious solution to this problem, create a new political party not indebted to international corporations. Create that party while keeping in mind the words of Alexander Hamilton:
“The security intended to the general liberty consists in the frequent election and in the rotation of the members of Congress.”
The American Term Limits Party, ATLP, is a political designation founded in Massachusetts in 2012. We are governed by a diverse unpaid executive committee. We are pro-business in order to generate wealth and jobs in America and thereby cut the cost of supporting the unemployed. Our first priorities are America’s long term problems such as joblessness and the national debt which is a threat to Social Security and Medicare funding and even financial stability.
It is not enough to just debate issues such as the Glass Steagall Act, NAFTA, and costly healthcare legislation. We can win the debates but lose the legislative battles because of the sell-outs. We need a lasting strong organization, a new vehicle such as ATLP to mobilize and maintain support and to win legislative battles against ever present lobbyists.
Our goal is to establish a national political party and to have candidates not indebted to international corporations. Establishing term limits of 12 years or less for Congressional Senate and House members will reduce dependence on money from lobbyists. Members of our party will not have ATLP support if they try to stay in office for more than 12 years whether term limits are enacted or not.
ATLP is different as a political party because we depend on unpaid activists and relatively small financial contributions. We are focused on expanding meaningful political representation to a broad array of Americans. Join and work with other Americans who are determined to do away with “The Best Congress That Money Can Buy”.