Campaign Finance Reform Bill

August 8, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Further to the United States Senate Actions Chronicle, there were more relevant bills proposed by the Senate Democrats in the past month – July 2010.

Campaign Finance Reform: The bill aimed at the election campaign’s fundamental problem – the special interests influence undermining democracy.

Evidently, it did not survive the Republican members opposition.

Although, the House passed the legislation, it failed in the Senate by three votes short of 60 votes required to eliminate Republican filibuster against the Disclose Act and various important components protecting the democratic sanctity.

The Democrats introduced the bill primarily to offset the negative effects from the Supreme Court’s decision granting unlimited access to the corporations, unions and other interests through campaign contributions, political ads and advocacy for or against any political candidate ahead of the election.

However, there was an exception to the Supreme Court’s rule that permitted Congress to legislate the interest groups’ political rhetoric via disclaimer and disclosure requirements.

Democrats precisely drafted the legislation to prohibit overseas corporations, federal contractors and tax payer bailed out businesses from the sponsorship.

At the same time, the bill enforced the disclaimer and disclosure requirement on the rest with the respective organizations’ chief executive or union leader’s personal appearance and endorsement message in the political ad.

Similar criteria apply to the nexus group representing the corporations, trade unions…to identify the top donors in the political ad.

Additionally, the corporations and advocacy groups are expected to provide campaign contribution details exceeding $1,000 in their political expenditure accounts.

The purpose behind this legislation is to enable transparency for free and fair elections by limiting the powerful organizations from depriving the electorates’ voice being heard in a democracy.

Not surprisingly, the business groups had expressed their grievances claiming the legislative act violated the free speech right and reportedly highlighted on the unions not being subject to the same conditions.

This issue could be addressed with a clear emphasis on the bill to affect all participants in the political campaign including the non-profit organizations with a political agenda regardless of stature.

Up until now, the legislation passage is entirely dependent on the democrats and isolated Republican member votes viz. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, in all major issues.

The Republican opposition has been driven by the special interests controlling the electoral and legislative process.

Now, the Republican members voting against the campaign finance reform prove their priority to the business groups over their constituents and the American electorate in the nation.

In return, the business groups have pledged extraordinary support and financial backing to the Republican candidates thwarting the democrats’ effort to represent the American people and the nation at large.

Therefore, the public demand across the political spectrum is imperative to revive the bill and restore democracy upon the Congress members’ return from August recess.

Any resistance to the bill will indicate the political party and the member’s self-interest against national interest.

Rest assured, the Democrats bill on the campaign finance reform is a phenomenal step towards fixing the broken political system in Washington.

People have the power to bring about the long overdue change in the political sphere.

It’s possible by electing the legislators demonstrating their commitment to work for the people and the democrats are diligently performing their constitutional duties in improving American lives.

Please send your affordable / generous contributions to DCCC, DSCC, DNC and DGA in getting the doers i.e. the democrats elected overwhelmingly to the House, the Senate and State Governors in November 2010.

It might be a great challenge to compete with the corporations, but the will of the people cannot be deterred by the forces against them as established in 2008 elections.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

P.S.: Please send your contributions to the following address or visit their websites.

DNC – Democratic National Committee –
Attn: Governor Tim Kaine
430 South Capitol Street SE,
Washington, D.C., 20003

DCCC – Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Attn: Speaker Nancy Pelosi
430 South Capitol Street S.E.
Washington, D.C., 20003

DSCC – Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Attn: State Senator (?)
120 Maryland Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002.

DGA – Democratic Governors Association –
1401 K Street, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005

National Unemployment – A Reality Check

November 10, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

According to the latest reports, the current jobless rate is 10.2% with 16 million Americans competing for 3 million jobs. Apparently, this figure does not include the underemployed. The Corporate related unemployment is further expected to rise up to 10.8% by the end of next year. Another grim factor is the joblessness among the self-employed and the small business retrenchments reportedly escalate the figure to an alarming 17.5% resembling the severe depression era.

Growing unemployment is a major impediment as consumer spending is directly linked to the job market posing a downside for the entire economy. Despite, the economic growth at 3.5% along with the 9.5% annual productivity for the recent quarter, the American workforce is yet to benefit from the surge in these areas.

The most affected sectors appear to be construction, manufacturing and retail. Although, the recent stimulus signed by President Obama extends unemployment benefits for 14 weeks and 20 weeks to the worst hit states combined with the tax credits for the first time and other home buyers, the problems confronting the industries required to generate jobs is attention worthy.

Construction industry is obviously dependent upon the housing sector and the housing market revival methods are due for review with respect to foreclosures and lending practices by the finance sector.

In fact, the credit crunch is predominantly responsible for the sluggishness in the respective areas of the economy. Unless and until the bailed out finance industry honor the commitments made to the American public during the substantial bail outs, the industries tied to credit market particularly the housing, manufacturing and retail cannot emerge from the recession.

If the various bailouts approved thus far have the built-in transparency and accountability factor then the oversight committee ought to investigate the recipients on the investments of those taxpayer funds legislated for providing jobs and stimulating the economy. Regardless, the trillions of dollars accumulated to the national deficit from the banking sector and automobile industry bailouts deserve scrutiny in terms of actual allocation that is not conspicuous given the depressing jobless data.

On the other hand, the government must provide a legitimate reason for not moving forward with the committed investments held in the $787 billion stimulus package including the remainder from the Bush administration passed TARP funds. When the controversial economic stimulus took place at different times, the purpose was to revitalize the economy with the desperately needed job growth besides enabling the relevant productivity levels and overall economic performance.

Any delay in energizing the job market would adversely affect the broader economic prospects for all industries with the consumer base lagging in the necessary spending, the fulcrum of the economic cartwheel.

Manufacturing industry has been harshly hit with the corporate executive failure in the automobile industry precipitated by the finance sector’s liquidity freeze that triggered the economic meltdown in the shadow of the hedge funds and sub-prime debacle. It is imperative to jumpstart the manufacturing sector macro economically to achieve the targeted employment goals.

Evidently, the prevailing policies and the applied mechanisms are either inadequate or ineffective. Perhaps, the additional or aggressive measures could bolster the weak sectors in promoting the anticipated job growth, the real indicator of the economic pulse. Nevertheless, the consolidated interjection of the monetary reserves and management resources from the private and the public sector is paramount to resuscitate the ailing job market.

A disturbing aspect of the impressive 9.5% productivity report is the executive attitude towards the workforce. In spite of the workers’ significant contribution, i.e. limited labor force tripling the mass production, the management has categorically denied wage increases, additional hiring or other compensations in the form of bonuses etc. claiming that it would be detrimental to the organization ‘s profit oriented schemes.

It is elaborated as corporations aimed at increased earnings in the backdrop of weak dollar, declining exports, business decision to operate on lower inventories and other economic woes. As reasonable as they might be, somehow the conditions seem to apply only towards the labor force explicitly stated by the industry spokesperson that the workers should remain content with the fact that they have a job in the gloomy economy.

Meanwhile, the CEO’s salary package maneuvered from the Congress chided bonuses to lucrative shares and stock options with immediate encashment irrespective of the corporate results; the disingenuous modesty is adequately serving the highest in the hierarchy. Never mind the exploitation of the workforce, the human capital in this context.

In terms of the businesses with cash reserves operating on small inventories, the strategy is counterproductive, not to mention the catastrophic impact on the wholesale, small businesses and the retail industry. The wholesalers relying on the medium and large corporations’ inventory purchases forced to carry out massive layoffs potentially having a ripple effect on the economy with a possible inflation.

The swift passage of the ‘Cap and Trade’ bill boosting the green technology sector would be a phenomenal job growth subsequently alleviating the burden on the national deficit.

In light of the available facts, it would be appropriate to attribute the unemployment status to the myriad of activities or the lack thereof by both private and the public entities. It could be highlighted as the culmination of stringent corporate policies, limited private and public investments, reining credit flow, uncontained foreclosures and lack luster home sales in the housing market…causing the precarious unemployment situation.

Therefore, the government and the free market thorough evaluation of the status quo are essential to invigorate the frail job market.

A jobless economic recovery ultimately leads to a negative economic trend in the absence of robust stimulants explained above. Jobs represent the nerve of the economy with serious economic and political ramifications.

Contrary to the rhetoric echoed in the chambers of Congress and the media, the health care reform is equally important in the equation because it bankrupts the small businesses and individuals alike. Both groups are constantly struggling to make ends meet with the atrocious health care costs prohibiting investments in other necessities.

Economy and health care matter are intertwined and partisan politics has no place at the critical moment debilitating many American lives.

It is incumbent on the United States Senate to rise to the occasion and overwhelmingly approve the health care bill with the federal run health care program titled as the ‘public option’ in recognition of the American plight.

The simultaneous actions by Washington and free market are vital in curbing the rising unemployment statistics. Job assurance to every American translates into job security for the legislators and the executives. Since jobs create taxpayers and consumers,

Washington and Wall Street cannot thrive without progress in the main street.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant