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Off Topic: Payroll Politics

Ibraheem Arif, class of ‘20

As much as I’d like to steer away from politics, I can’t. It seems as if Trump’s winning election has driven more people to become politically active, including myself. So I want to take this as an opportunity to talk about how I see payroll politics.

First things first, I realized that all news channels have an agenda, whether it be CNN, NBC, or Fox. 90% of material set out for our consumption is put on by 6 major corporate outlets: GE, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS. So what’s the likelihood for any conflict of interest? Our news source is filtered and disseminated to the public in order to further corporate agendas and ratings. Money lies at the bottom line and decides what and how stories are told. So maybe before we unquestionably accept everything we hear, we need to start reconsidering who’s behind the delivery of our political news.

Secondly, some Americans are angry with Trump’s office and claim his political inexperience deems him unfit for the job. Yet this election process and choice is part of democracy. In a true democracy even an average person should be able to run for office on an even playing field. The problem is that there is no even playing field due to the large amount of money needed to run for office. The more money raised, the louder the microphone drowns out competition. That’s why 91% of the time, the better financed candidate wins. With local and state races, you seldom hear of many nominees because they weren’t able to raise enough money to get their names out. When it comes to presidential campaigns it is slightly different due to the amount of coverage. But when primaries come around, whether nominees be democrat or republican, we’re not actually voting for the nominees, but for their donors.

Politicians have meetings with millionaires and billionaires so that politicians can earn monetary support in return for promising certain measures once they’re in office, such as cutting their taxes or reduce their regulations. On top of that, the supreme court said that it couldn’t see how money could corrupt political outcomes. So it’s a corporation’s constitutional rights to donate unlimited amounts of money to politicians.

So now we have a full stage of politicians, backed by special interests and premade promises prior to election, telling us how they will look out for our interests. Are they here to win our vote or look out for our interests? According to a research study conducted by Princeton that looked at policies from the last 50 years, researchers concluded that average citizens have little to no influence, whereas the preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile, major lobbists and business groups have almost all of the influence.

To me it’s clear that money holds the biggest influence in Washington, but there has to be a better way of creating a more fair ground. Whether democrat or republican, we know that money in politics is corrupting the system and something needs to change. There is a growing organization called Wolf-Pac which aims to amend the constitution and organize campaigns for publicly funded office rather than private donations. This is one way we can cut out the puppet masters, backdoor deals and ensure the politicians running for office are solely dependent on our votes.

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