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May 18, 2013

Public financing could cure pols' paranoia

Paranoia is an irrational fear of persons, places or events that have no basis in reality.

For example, the National Rifle Association fears that either Barack Obama, the federal government, the United Nations, or the tooth fairy is plotting to take their members’ weapons, despite the fact that there is no intention to do so.

In Washington, D.C., paranoia is running wild in the halls of the United States Congress.

There, the fear among the members is that they may lose their jobs. Theirs have to be the most wonderful gigs in the world, for they will do just about anything to keep them. For instance, when a powerful (lots of money and influence) lobbying group, such as — let’s say — the National Rifle Association, tells Congress not to vote for a reasonable expansion of gun sale background checks, that legislation does not get passed.

Now, it doesn’t matter that the overwhelming majority of their constituents are in favor of these background checks, because when it comes to standing up to the NRA (and possibly losing their jobs), the members of Congress get all weak in the knees and become towers of Jell-O.

Fortunately there is a cure for this peril of paranoia in Washington. We need to take the “mother’s milk of political lobbying” money, out of the system by public financing of all congressional election campaigns. All candidates get the same amount of money to run, none of which can come from lobbying, special-interest groups.

A failure to enact these changes will continue to hurt this country, and that’s not paranoia, it’s a frightening fact.

Lyle Chastaine


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