Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s (R) immediate and lengthy private conversation with Ian Murphy of Buffalo Beast pretending to be a Koch brother is a great reminder of the incredibly easy two-step process for how to get a powerful politician to listen to your thoughts and concerns.
Step 1: Donate millions of dollars directly and indirectly help politicians get elected.
Step 2: The politicians will take your calls.
It’s so simple, even a millionaire child could do it.
Now, if you aren’t part of that 0.1 percent of Americans who are extremely wealthy CEOs with millions to give to politicians (or can’t do pretty good impression of one of the phone), you are basically out of luck.
If you are a regular American, it is possible to be part of a dues-paying member association along with other regular Americans who share your basic economic situation to collectively pool your very limited resources and political power. These organizations as a whole will have enough campaign money and political power to warrant long conversations with powerful politicians. So, you will at least have someone directly talking to politicians about roughly your collective problems and concerns.
This kind of member association that allows thousands of regular people with similar jobs to collectively have almost the level of political influence as just one deep-pocket billionaire are often called labor unions, Gov. Walker is currently trying to destroy.
Of course, if, as a country, we adopted public campaign financing, politicians wouldn’t need to spend all day chatting with weird billionaires in the hopes of convincing them to give large amounts of money to finance their campaigns. Instead, they might actually spend time thinking about what regular voters want. If that happened, we might not have Wall Street millionaires paying less in taxes (thanks to the capital gains tax loophole) than public school teachers.