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. klheitz

    Since Congress makes the rules and we the voters put them in office ... it seems we the voters need to put those in office who support Campaign and Lobbying reform. Sounds like an excellent and cohesive campaign platform for 2012.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Right... because electing people who write "I support campaign and lobbying reform" on their campaign websites is going to produce meaningful campaign and lobby reform legislation.

      It's crazy how much faith people still have in election day, in spite of the demonstrated non-efficacy of the voting booth...

      October 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pj

    Nearly all of the disfunction in our current political and economic systems stems from the fact that a select few with big money can inordinately influence elections and thereby legislation. They influence state judge elections to change tort laws,
    state representives to enact, roadblock or repeal legislation that advances their narrow agenda. They subvert demoncracy and their influence was not anticipated by the founding fathers. Campaign funding MUST be transparent and capped. Corporations should not be considered "individuals". Legislation MUST further or protect the common good not the profits of a few. Government regulation is not only appropriate but demanded when the common good is threatened – when corporations, banks, investors – et all – behave in a way that is dishonest, malicious, criminally negligent, discriminatory and seriously threatens the rights, freedom, resources of the people.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bruce

    I'm sorry, folks. "Victory" of this movement, if it ever comes, will not look like the already-failed-dreams of:

    1. Develop a political platform and a slate of policy initiatives.
    2. Identify candidates who support this platform.
    3. Voter registration drives and "GET OUT THE VOTE!" initiatives.
    4. Election of a significant number of candidates from #2.
    5. ???
    6. Profit! (everything is better with an underwear gnome reference)

    Seriously, folks. It's not gonna happen that way.

    If we are truly fortunate, OWS will accomplish the following:

    1. The richest 1% look at the messages of OWS and thoughtfully consider them.
    2. The richest 1%, in this thoughtful consideration, wake up and realize that their long-term wealth and prosperity is inextricably tied to the wealth and prosperity of the other 99% and that if they don't take care of us, in the end they will lose everything their greedy hearts desire to hold onto.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    The richest 1% got us into this mess. In spite of their numbers, they are vastly more powerful than the rest of us 99%. Only the richest 1% will get us out of this mess.

    The only thing we can do, if we can indeed do it (I'm not all that optimistic, to be frank), is to try to wake them up to the truth and hope they wake up and understand.

    October 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AlaskaPalin

    'Lobbying' in america will be frowned on and called corruption if done in third world countries.

    October 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TEN

    Unions also wield far too much lobbying power in Washington. Get ALL the lobbyists out of politics and let the corporations and unions fight it out amongst themselves. The Federal government should get back to basics and ensure national security (defense), liberty, core infrastructure and laws to enable a corruption free fair-playing business field. The government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to businesses.

    October 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Tea for Me Please

      Sometimes it takes a little evil to defeat a big evil. That's what the trade unions had to do to survive in the face of brutal corporate thugs and hit men. You're a fool if you think corporations don't resort to mafia-styled tactics.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. workingstill

    can't go to New York to join the protest? No protest in your town? Some of us have joined together here on CNN to bring national dialogue to these issues, and hope to work out some solutions, together. Please join us to provide your input. We hope to redefine American politics.

    ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-688412

    October 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    Does that include UNION money??

    October 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Tea for Me Please

      What's your problem with the trade unions, Bill? I don't think you'd be so coy and arrogant if you were amidst some teamsters.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. matt

    The issue isn't solely about money and the money trail although it is a huge issue. The issue is about resources available for prosperity. Since we don't have a resource other than money to purchase resources like food, shelter, healthcare etc, those resources must be made more readily available to ensure the well being of citizens. Since most of the wealth, power, and resources are allocated to the 1pct, this is the inevitable outcome. As Spock would say "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Solid logic. Fair or not the reality is that the 1pct are beholden to the 99.

    October 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      "Since we don't have a resource other than money..."

      Matt, your misunderstanding is common, but it is part of the source of the problem. Money is not a resource. Money is a social gimmick we collectively use to distribute resources. If all the money disappeared tomorrow, there would still be food and gasoline and cars and roads and people who can use shovels and hammers.

      It is this equating money with resources that caused all of the problems we have today. The rich and the corporations are focused on making money rather than making actual stuff that people need and/or want. This is why there is more money to be made from money (e.g. credit card debt) than to be made from making stuff (e.g. a worker in a factory).

      Someone earlier said that "for $10 million any of us would allow toxic dump in SOMEONE ELSES BACKYARD." This tells you how bad this problem is, how bad this misunderstanding is.

      The only way money is an actual resource is if it is paper money and you burn it in a fire. The vast majority of money isn't even that real–it's electron states on a computer hard drive somewhere combined with a mass psychology that somehow compels people to exchange these electron states for a cup of coffee, or even a toxic waste dump in their neighbor's backyard...

      October 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. No Tea for Me Please

    The one priority goal for the movement should be to get money out of politics. Get rid of all PACs – especially these new Super PACs ruled by the 1%. Also, be sure to relegate corporations to a non-citizen status.

    It was absurd when billionaire 1 percenter Mitt Romney proudly insisted corporations are "people".

    October 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • revolutionisinprogress

      yes No tea–you are exactly right ! It is high time we get lobbying an illegal status that such bribery deserves. Without the $$$ for these crooked politicians, they would be kicked out for voting against the best interests of the American people. I agree that corporations are not "people". Romney should be tarred and feathered.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. No Tea for Me Please

    ...says another paid GOP goon

    October 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Tea for Me Please

      Ahh, it looks like the good ole CNN Reply button bug is still around.

      October 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Thank you, No Tea for Me Please. I agree with eveything you posted so far. These people are frustrated and I see why since I am too!

      October 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Raukeze

    Demanding term limits would at least disconnect the politician from a portion of re-election funding; freeing them to engage in “best decision for the country” thinking. Disconnecting politicians from their pensions and “full-ride” benefits is the second. Citizens need to force such reality; obviously won’t occur without upheaval of some nature.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. D from VA

    to BRUCE talking about money not being a resource.
    You have said the truth. I thank you.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    @dagnabit:
    Perhaps it is because they *are* such a young movement that they are not agreeing on what the *first* goal they tackle is.
    The point is, they *are* trying to address things...if a bit haphazardly for now.
    *All* of what they are trying to do is important...it's a protest that hasn't become an exact political movement...yet.
    There are a lot of these protests in every state; why not find one in your area and see what it's all about?

    Somebody pointed out to me that I don't look at the big picture.
    Perhaps that's one needs to do here...

    October 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Bruce, you have written some extremely thought-provoking things here today.
    I will be thinking about them at length.
    Thank you.

    October 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. workingstill

    No Tea for Me Please,Raukeze,Bruce,revolutionisinprogress,banasy© you all seem intelligent based on your posts. Please come and join a bigger discussion. - ireport.cnn. com/docs/DOC-688412 - and - ireport.cnn. com/docs/DOC-688081 -

    October 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
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