Tim Roemer, former Indiana congressman and ambassador to India, has a simple question: are you feeling the pain?
Even if you think you aren’t, the situation on Capitol Hill ensures we’re all feeling duped by our politicians. Because of money in politics and the skyrocketing cost of campaigns, our elected officials are forced to spend almost half their time fundraising from a small group of wealthy Americans. It was the subject of a recent Issue One video, and Tim Roemer’s recent op-ed in Newsweek explains clearly why “dialing for dollars” hurts us all.
When our legislators spend so much time raising money, the result is dysfunctional government. This directly impacts the taxpayer and makes our government more expensive.
We all pay a price when cash dominates politics, but politicians themselves have had enough too. Retiring Democrats and Republicans have cited the fundraising grind as a main reason for why they’re leaving public service, and research shows increasingly that our best and brightest would rather bow out than face yet another cycle of asking for money from the richest percentage of the country. Senator Ted Cruz said running for president requires “surgically removing your shame sensor.”
This is not the environment we want our elected leaders to be stuck in. That’s why, as Roemer explains, “it is not just in the vital interests of every citizen to fix this highly corrosive and deeply biased campaign finance system; it might be the single best way to make public service more attractive, substantive and rewarding to talented people who long to serve America.”
He calls for all 2016 candidates, from the White House down, to support a comprehensive plan to reform our broken political system and put everyday Americans back at the heart of our democracy.
One place the candidates can start: the recently announced 21st Century Democracy Agenda, released by a coalition of national reform groups, including Issue One.