Overheard on CNN.com: Get money out of politics
Protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement rally in downtown Manhattan.
October 14th, 2011
01:14 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Get money out of politics

Exchange of the Day:

"The root of the problem is mega-corporations buying members of Congress to rig capitalism in their favor." - blue175

"I totally agree. Lobbying is legalized bribery." - str8ridah

What will victory look like for Occupy Wall Street?

The Occupy Wall Street movement is still quite young, but writes political commentator Sally Kohn, "my sense is that the ultimate demand could be a radical reform to get money out of politics," including public financing of elections and a constitutional amendment removing the status of corporations as "people." Many CNN.com readers agreed that money was polluting the process.

NocommentCNN asked, "Why are my elected representatives representing corporate interest before the interests of individual freedom and liberty that this country was founded for?"

MrSteiny said, "I consider myself a pretty far-right-leaning individual. I believe in the protection of property rights and that includes one's money. But one thing I think that most Americans (Democrat or Republican) can agree on is that money in politics is a poor idea. I'm not talking about paychecks. I think the men and women chosen to set and monitor the laws and policies of this country should be compensated fairly. I'm talking about lobbying, which really is more like bribing."

mlmilewicz said, "Liberal or conservative, most of the money behind political campaigns come from the corporate sector. I'm hoping this movement will encourage targeted support for political candidates who 'Just Say No' to corporate campaign support."

DApppp said, "Probably 90% or more of our elected representatives are part of that 1%. The change these people want is controlled more by Washington, D.C., than the banks and corporate America."

CactusThorn said, "If one of their goals is indeed to get money out of politics, it's one I support 100%. Accomplishing that should get Congress and the president out of the posturing mode and into a meaningful legislative mode that includes bipartisionship and compromise."

jsnholloway said, "We have a political system that favors those with money. The system is rigged. The super-rich and the multinational corporations have a louder voice in our democracy because they are the ones who finance the billion dollar campaigns. They are the ones whom the politicians placate. This is wrong. It results in monetary policy that puts even more money in the pockets of these folks. I don't blame rich people; I blame the system they are freely allowed to exploit. 'Victory' will come in stages. Stage 1: Raise awareness."

leftyavenger said, "Victory looks like a universal health care system for America. Victory looks like all the troops pulled out of the Middle Eastern oil baron wars and an end to borrowing $4 billion a week from China to do it. Victory looks like big pay cuts in CEO and executive pay and raises for all workers. Victory looks like creating green sustainable energy within the USA. Victory looks like a defeat for everyone who supports opposition to stated goals above."

Do you feel your views align with those of these commenters? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. jordan scene©

    I absolutely think lobbying and taking these corporate campaign contributions should be illegal. But when the people who benefit the most from it(congress) make the rules, what do you expect? Its the same thing with the fact that congress gets to vote on their salary. I think, instead of occupying wallstreet, people need to occupy to capital!

    October 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fernando Litardo

      Thumbs up to all occupiers! Do not stop the protest in EVERY CORNER OF THE NATION until big money gets out of politics and all lobbyists end up in the unemployment lines.

      October 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It is unrealistic to deny that everything in life favors those with money. The greater the money, the greater the favoring.
    Declaring money illegal is not an option, and spreading money around equally does not work because then productivity ceases altogether.
    Life is not absolutely fair.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Synapse

      Brother Joey- Are you old enough to remember when "equal time" was required on media? There was lively debate- "productivity" was as high, or higher, than today- and we didn't have the polarization to the degree we do, now. We had good and bad times [economically]- but we found consensus to move forward to work on/solve the problems we faced... together.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Agree. However spreading money in the usual course of economic activity has to be separated from purchasing Congressional patronage or elections.
    Or we might as well allow funds from money laundering to jump start a sagging economy.
    And then its not just Big Business its 'foreign' lobbies also which are a part of this malaise.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. George Patton

    Get the money out of politics? Now that's a very good idea. Since the MIC(military-industrial-complex) has almost an unlimited supply of it, they may no longer be able to pay off the majority of those in Congress as is now the case.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. leecherius

    h t t p s : / / w w w s . w h i t e h o u s e . g o v / p e t i t i o n s

    October 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bruce

    The day that the rich make more money on actually investing their money in American corporations that make actual stuff (using American labor, stuff that can be sold not only here but abroad) than they make by either loaning money to others at interest (loaning is not investing–sorry bankers, it's true) or by the whole buy-low-sell-high speed day-trading game that capitalizes on market volatility rather than making good long-term bets on the success of companies–that's the day America starts to save itself.

    The 1% need to realize that the short-term gains they are getting by shipping the jobs of the other 99% overseas will ultimately undermine their own success. Even Warren Buffet needs to admit the fundamental difference between a loan and an investment, in spite of the shell-game he plays with things like GE preferred stock that gives him a guaranteed 10% return in dividends that are not connected to the success of the company.

    The rich need to stop "investing" in higher-risk, huge-yield (e.g. credit card) debt and need to stop pretending that buying stocks in financial companies who make their money through derivatives trading and from high-interest credit to consumers is "job creation" or "investment" in US industry. If the company doesn't sell actual stuff that can be bought here, and more importantly somewhere else such that we can get rid of the huge trade deficit that is the cause of all the problems, then it's not an investment.

    The rich have, for the past 2 or 3 decades, basically sold off parcels of their land to prolong their apparent wealth rather than farm that land for a sustainable profit. Ultimately the 1% will hit the wall and realize that the "land" was the 99% that made them rich in the first place, and once it's gone, it's gone.

    So, to the 1%–stop being such greedy bas.tards! Or better yet, START being greedy bas.tards and realize that your long-term wealth and prosperity is inextricably tied to the wealth and prosperity of the other 99%.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • WZiggy

      If your in the top 1% why would u care? Thats the point.

      Who gives a sajfhskldhj how screwed up we are if I have $1 BILLION in the bank?? All corporations need to have pay regulated so that its equal. Period. Like CEOS can make (idk ...random number) only 50x the AVG WORKER PAY FOR THAT COMPANY. Ie. U get a huge bonus, everyone has to get equal % bonus.

      Reasoning - A corporation is a govt allowed way for the rich to BORROW money and risk NONE of their own. Thats why u see these companies over expand (starbucks, krispy kremes) and then contract. Because their stock price and thus the money made for executes overrides their concern for long term profitablity. If your money was on the line you study and make WISE expansions. When you can borrow millions and make millionson the stock price, your concern for the company is 0.

      The us was made on people who put up their own fortunes to make more, not the bs donald trumps who mearly game the system to screw the avg person.

      October 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      WZiggy: If you have $1 billion in the bank, it is you who should care if that money will be worth anything in 10 or 20 years.

      If you have $1 billion in the bank, try this as an experiment: move to Kabul, Afghanistan. Try to enjoy the "good life" by spending your money there. Try to walk down to the corner shop and buy a latte in the cool morning breeze, and sitting down to read a good book as the day passes you by.

      BOOOM! You're dead. Your $1 billion sits in the bank unspent. You didn't enjoy the morning because you were too busy bleeding from the explosion that leveled the corner shop while your latte was being made...

      October 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dagnabit

    It's easy to pick on the top 1%, they're outnumbered.

    The real question is, what do the other 99% all agree needs to be done? Answer: They don't agree on anything.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      I think "agreement" and "doing something" are both overrated, if what you are talking about is some slate of policy initiatives that must get through the House and Senate and signed into law by the President.

      That, and the 99% won't (and can't) do much of anything. This will be up to the 1%, and whether or not they will wake up and realize that their wealth and prosperity is inextricably tied to our wealth and prosperity.

      So here goes holding my breath...

      October 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • hanoirox

      corruption changes the fabric of the country.....there are far too many things affected here to fit into one slogan. it's vital to pick on cheaters.

      October 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GeorgeGray

    Why would the protesters obey "police"? "Police" appear to be no more than men in Halloween costumes, enforcing the preferences of people the protesters have never met, who aren't paying for obedience, and who haven't bothered to acquire written power of attorney over any of the protesters affairs, in order to limit them.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. WZiggy

    The problem is not lobbying. AT ALL. It is the fact that after their service, or during, they can "advise" these companies to the tune of millions of dollars, and the fact that they can invest in em.

    The ONLY way to make em honest is to make it a lifetime gig where u cant invest in ANY deal (real estate, stocks) and make more than the avg (for area if real estate and the dow avg for stocks.) Otherwise there will always be bribery and "doing for self and family".

    Most of us agree that for $10 million any of us would allow toxic dump in SOMEONE ELSES BACKYARD. etc.. Human nature...

    October 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      WZiggy: Actually, that is not human nature. That's the very definition of pathological.

      That you seem to empathize with it and apologize on behalf of such behavior says a lot about where we are today, and where we're going in the not-too-distant future.

      October 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lynn D

    The fact that corporations can contribute massive amounts of money to political campaigns, and can do so anonymously, is a travesty.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Donene

    It's not just corporate money contributions that pay for lobbying, it's union money too. Unions should stay out of politics as should large corporations. And I certainly don't approve of government tax dollars being used for campaigning.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. OWS

    OCCUPY WALL ST. – You folks ROCK N' ROLL...(For thos about to Rock, WE SALUTE YOU...{:o)

    TEA PARTY RADICALS – If you don't like what OWS represents and stands for, and if you cannot stand big Government & social programs, feel free to defect and move to either Northern Sudan or Somalia. I'm quite certain you'd be happier in either of those nations. I believe the only form of social welfare programs in the Darfur region of Sudan or Mogadishu, Somalia is probably a bullet to the head.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Voltairine

    Regaining Our Republic: Phase I

    First, corporations must be stripped of their absurd legal status as, “persons” (See, “Corporate Personhood”, via Wikipedia).

    Second, it must be made illegal for corporations to influence the government in any way whatsoever, to include lobbying and political contributions. Only living breathing human beings, as lawful citizens, should be able to do these things.

    Third, there should be an absolute maximum amount of money that any candidate can accept for use in a campaign, with any additional funds being returned to, or otherwise not used by those candidates. This maximum should be relatively small in comparison to the massive amounts of money used for the two, “main”, parties, which, in 2012, has been estimated to exceed $2,000,000,000, effectively squashing all other political parties.

    Without all three of those steps being taken, the U.S. is not a Democracy. It is, and has been for some time, an Oligarchic Corporatist state that panders to big business and big money. The proof of this can be seen, among many other ways, in the fact that, throughout this crisis, this state has done virtually nothing for the devastated people of this country, and has even decimated public jobs/services that they need more than ever, and has, instead, done everything it can to further enriched the gargantuan mountains of loot of its real masters, big business and big money, or BBBM, or Triple-BM.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Marko

    This movement is what people power is all about. The people have the power and when organized can accommplish great changes. My suggestion is, that while we are demonstrating Wall Street, we also send some people over to the U. S. Supreme Court to demonstrate. Their decision allowed for the 1% and corporations to donate even more vast amounts of money to the political system, while not disclosing who they are. By doing so, the Supreme Court made themselves part of the problem and suspect to also being part of the scheme.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bill

    The foundation of the protests is the fight against corporate hegemony. For example, when repeated polls show that 85% of Americans want mandatory labeling for foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients (like what they have in the EU), why is this an issue? Because Monsanto et. al. don't want it. It's time for "government for the People", not "government for multi-national corporations".

    October 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Synapse

      Citizens Need Over Access and Greed. If you're not earning at the 1% level- you should be with The 99%. Stop being distracted by the red cape used by those who would control you and vote only for those who support [or- support more] the average citizen.

      October 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
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