Checks and Balances

One of my biggest concerns is what I see as a loss of checks and balances in the country.  The media seems to be losing its ability to place a check and balance on government.  It is now owned for the most part by large corporations and can be reluctant to investigate certain stories.  Or as in the case of Fox News to really engage in journalism at all.

There seems to be a blurring of the two parties into just one.  Again, losing a check and balance on what the other is doing.  Both parties are competing for the same dollars – corporate campaign donations.  While I think that the Democrats are still slightly more likely to stand up for the middle and lower class, it is becoming less so.  Many of the people representing us aren’t like us in that they are far richer than most  of us.

With the decline of unions we have lost the check and balance on big business.  Agree or disagree with unions, they did keep big business labor practices in check.

Given the regulatory capture that has taken place in this country there is minimal check on corporation and the power they wield. A prime example is the Boeing Max. The FAA allowance of Boeing to self-test it’s products has resulted in two plane crashes. Again, this is a loss of a check and balance.

Citizens United, which is on my list of really terrible SCOTUS decisions, allows vast sums of dark (nontransparent) money to hijack the political system. The Rucho v. Common Cause (gerrymandering) decision will only make this worse. The decision leaves states to handle redistricting and removes a tool for opposition. The Koch Brothers and their ilk must be celebrating. The economic liberty group has for a very long time focused on states as the level of government most easily influenced. These decisions equate to another loss of a check and balance as tools are removed and states are captured by dark money.

The is supposed to be a balance of power and a check on it by having three equal branches of government but that seems to be slipping as well. My beloved state of Alaska is a prime case study right now. Twenty-two legislatures decided recently to play along with the increasingly disliked governor. Instead of following their colleagues to the actual capitol to conduct business they held rogue “meetings” in a different location which allowed the governor’s draconian budget cuts to not be overridden. I say “meeting” because they never once had a quorum to conduct business. The Koch backed governor also reduced the budget for the court system because he didn’t like a recent decision. I’ve lost count of the ensuing lawsuits.

We need to start making sure that we have solid checks and balances within our political and economic systems or we will just continue to lose. I am not entirely sure how to make this happen but I do know that awareness is always the first step.

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