If you are not planning to vote in the upcoming election, Larry Lessig has a good explanation why.
You, like most Americans, believe that money buys results in Congress. No matter who wins, you believe that corporate interests will still have too much power and prevent real change. You are correct in your belief that money buys results in Congress, Lessig says. However, he has a different prescription than non-participation.
Lessig points out that .000015 percent, or 47 individuals, gave 42 percent of the Super PAC donations in the last election cycle. As a result of this "money election," Lessig says a few powerful interests exert an influence that conflicts with the public good.
Take deep water drilling. Why was BP's application fast-tacked while we have spent 9 years and 10,000 pages studying the environmental impact of clean energy technology? The answer, of course, is money.
Our political system is broken and the public knows it. That is why a higher percentage of Americans had confidence in the British crown in 1776 than the percentage of Americans who trust Congress today.
That is correct: 9 percent trust Congress. So what is Lessig's solution? Don't take the money out of campaigns. Change who the funders are. In the video below, Lessig presents his argument for citizen-funded campaigns.
Larry Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Lessig has been the clerk for both Judge Richard Posner and US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In November of 2011 Lessig announced that “Change Congress”, a project he founded to help volunteers address the problem of money in politics, would align with two other similar projects to create "United Republic", an effort that challenges the high financed, special interest groups who influence politics.