The Instigator
InfraRedEd
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Flare_Corran
Con (against)
Winning
24 Points

If we can't enact lobbying reform let's at least let consumer groups hold public office

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,671 times Debate No: 7795
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (19)
Votes (4)

 

InfraRedEd

Pro

This one is so easy I would have to try hard to lose it. Someday people will study the Age of Corruption when individuals could be elected to public office and accept bribes at will, and this being common knowledge and nothing being done about it.

Corporations act as people, and have all the rights people have, except holding public office, which in fact it may be possible under current law if a corporation can meet age and residency requirements in order to to register to vote. Those junk phone calls you are receiving even though you are on the don't call list is because corporations have freedom of speech just like we do.

A consumer group structured to hold public office could do a much better job than one person possibly could. Lobbying and the taking of bribes, the biggest problems with our government at all levels, would virtually disappear. Tough anti-lobbying measures are needed in any case: anyone caught giving or taking bribes loses their job and goes to the Big House and is personally liable for damages.

It will make government accountable.
Flare_Corran

Con

Hopefully you won't have to try too hard.

Consumer groups should not be permitted to hold public office because they are undemocratic, their formation and operation is regulated by law, and the amount of corruption would increase.

Due to the fact that you also referred to them as corporations, I am operating under the assumption that by consumer groups you mean legally established corporations.

First of all, all corporations are undemocratic. Unless one gave a single share of non-transferable stock to everyone in the country, it would be impossible for a corporation to consistently follow the will of the people.
Even if every shareholder had equal voting rights (meaning the number of shares was irrelevant), the corporation would still be out of control of the public in its day to day operations. We do this all the time with our politicians of course, but a politician at least has a personality, even though the existence of their morals is debatable.
A corporation, whose opinions exist only by the ballot of the stockholders or board of directors, would be an unknown. Its positions on even the largest issues could change daily. This is when corporations are functioning normally. Hostile takeovers would become more common, as political parties fought for control of elected corporations. Foreign countries would invest heavily in corporate stock, giving them a voice in our government. Foreign countries would be unable to predict how we would act. Both foreign and domestic policy would be impossible to predict, wrecking havoc on both the economy and foreign relations.

Second, the operations of corporations are regulated by law. By allowing Corporations to be elected, you allow them to choose their own rules. Even ignoring the issues raised in my first point, corporations would be focused more on maintaining power than what was good for the people. Since what they are allowed to do is regulated by a separate set of laws (Corporate Law), corporations would find it much easier to simply change rules that they don't like. For instance, the founding of new corporations could be outlawed, eliminating competition.

Finally, corruption would actually increase if corporations were holding public office. A corporation would be much more capable of hiding bribes, since there would be so many more people. Also, bribes could be given to just one person who was capable of changing the course of the entire corporation. It would become impossible to determine who actually took the bribe, or even if it was really a bribe.
And what would constitute bribery? Would buying stock be considered a bribe? You're giving someone money in order to have a voice in their decisions, aren't you? No matter how tough your anti-lobbying measures are, corporations would always be able to find a way around them.

In conclusion, allowing consumer groups to hold public office would result in erratic decisions, a desperate fight to maintain power, and widespread corruption.

... Even worse than things are today.
Debate Round No. 1
InfraRedEd

Pro

I was going to work on this a little more but there is quite enough here to keep you busy for the few minutes it takes you to reply. I will let you imagine the rest. Clearly you are not a chess player.

OK let's suppose we have two choices: reconstruct Congress as it is, an enormously expensive bureaucracy, or maybe improve on it. I am sure you would argue that the present situation is just fine. Welll if you want Shell Oil as your Senator, cool, but let's say we want to establish a corporation, as I believe I mentioned, expressly for the purpose of holding political office, say in the neighborhood of 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(12), rather than to make a profit, which appears to be your concept of a "corporation". Just as we choose and vote for, in theory anyway, honest candidates, Shell Oil would not be a particularly good vote getter, as opposed to, say Consumer Reports, which of course is also a corporation but with a primary purpose other than making money. Note that these consumer organizations are able to and are in fact presently performing their functions in spite of enormous commercial pressures to subvert them, proving that it is possible. All the money we use to maintain the physical buildings and offices of Capitol Hill for crooks to do business can be saved since corporations are simply groups of people. Voting in Congress could just as easily be done electronically anyway. The real weakness of our system is that most people would rather not have anything to do with it except to vote. The public is not informed on the issues because the real issues are not discussed during an election. Of course Americans ignore election politics. It is irrelevant.

Of course any such outfit would automatically become a Political Action Committee (PAC) and subject to pretty strict Federal regulation. Certainly there will be enormous pressure from special interests. In the 2004 elections, the top 10 PACs by money spent by themselves, their affiliates and subsidiaries were as follows:

EMILY's List $22,767,521
Service Employees International Union $12,899,352
American Federation of Teachers $12,789,296
American Medical Association $11,901,542
National Rifle Association $11,173,358
Teamsters Union $11,128,729
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $10,819,724
National Education Association $10,521,538
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees $9,882,022
Laborers' International Union of North America $9,523,837

Now regardless of your opinion of these outfits, they do what they are intended to do. They are not subverted by anyone despite enormous pressure, which is I believe pretty much addresses the point of your arguments. Shell Oil also does exactly what it is intended to do. Very of their members are complaining that they were betrayed or subverted by their organization. Congress, on the other hand,
Flare_Corran

Con

After spending some time studying corporate law, I am still unable to find any way to protect a corporation from outside influences. The PAC's you listed were not all corporations. Seven are run by unions, the AMPAC is a PAC set up by a corporation, and after fifteen minutes of looking, I don't know if Emily's list is a corporation or not. The NRA is.

This makes me kind of confused about where you were going. It IS possible to set up corporations without selling stock in them publicly, but it would still result in an extension of government by committee, which would slow down the workings of our government.

I agree with you that these companies do a pretty good job sticking to their missions, however, if the corporation was holding public office, it would have to deal with issues that are outside of its missions. The Senator from Alaska still has to deal with regulations on the production of oranges, even though that's not a big campaign issue up north. Those issues would be unpredictable. Where now it is possible to compromise and work together, that requires one individual making decisions. A consumer group would have to send nearly every issue to its board of directors, just to make sure that it knew what to do.

Further questions arise from the pay structure. Would all of the income come from donations, or would the government fund the groups? What about travel expenses when the board of directors have to meet? Would individuals who were elected receive different funding?

My question about corporations controlling the rules under which they operate is only emphasized by the corporation being a PAC. Especially since that raises issues about PAC funding. If the PAC itself is a candidate, is it still subject to financing restrictions? Is the donor limit the same? Can it spend more than $5,000 dollars a year on its campaign?

These issues would create havoc in our country, destroying our election system, rewriting campaign law, increasing taxes, and ultimately result in a government that would be even less efficient (if that's even possible).
Debate Round No. 2
InfraRedEd

Pro

Well yes I am rather modest about the scope of this proposal. In fact I wonder where you are going with objections that it is more complicated or expensive than the present system, such as that the proposal would require election reform. That is the least it would require. If anything like this has ever been tried before I am not aware of it. It will require massive changes in the way we think about politics.

Even more amusing is your objection that it would involve more people in government and make it more complicated. That is the whole point. We have people with nothing to do anyway, who would welcome the opportunity to participate in government as a public service, and many more who would be eager to even have their views heard. The problem is crooks, not efficiency. Any scheme to get the public to take an interest in government would replace a thousand boring civics classes, the ones I attended anyway. But this was when there were just sole proprieterships, parnerships and corporations. What if those boring classes were replaced with actual participation in government?

And if that's not enough you are wondering how this can be done under existing law. Well if it can't then get new laws or do away with laws and lawyers I don't care. The problem is too many lawyers anyway. In an ideal society there would be no lawyers. Need for an attorney restricts access to the law to those who can afford it. It's Congree which is mostly lawyers which is causing the problem. Attorneys cannot even be trained to speak normal English.

I was using the word "corporation" in a purely informal sense to mean any group of people. I believe I stated as much.

Perhaps HUD Secretary Coalition of the Homeless, or Defense Secretary Veterans' Alliance could better explain some of the ways of thinking we have to shed such as this "Board of Directors" mindset. I hope it's revolutionary and as for expensive we'll just end up giving it all away on top of trillions of dollars already given to the rich which will be used to make our money worthless so what's a few more or less and why not spend it on something constructive instead of digging ourselves in deeper. It's only money. See my "Money is worthless" debate. Better yet don't, it's only has half the hits this one has. 8000 characters is too long. I think shorter times and more rounds would improve the debate. I'm tired of reading this. I'm just going to submit it.
Flare_Corran

Con

"Even more amusing is your objection that it would involve more people in government and make it more complicated. That is the whole point."

I debated whether or not to type more than just that quote. Government is far too complicated as it is. Anything that will make it more so cannot be good for our country.

This proposal would result in massive changes to our government, including several constitutional amendments. It would amount to a completely new system of government, with no similarities to what we have today. Such a massive upheaval at a time when we are fighting a war on another continent and dealing with economic problems would likely destroy our country.

I believe that the point of those "boring civics classes" was to teach people about how government works, so that they would be able to understand HOW to participate. Replacing them with actual participation would be like replacing med school with actual surgery.

"Well if it can't then get new laws or do away with laws and lawyers I don't care."
And therein lies the problem. Doing away with laws would destroy the point of electing people at all. The attack on lawyers is not only unnecessary and irrelevant, but also false, since not even half of Congresspeople are lawyers (218 out of 535)

"Corporations act as people, and have all the rights people have"
This does not mean just any group of people. I can't pick a random group of friends and say that the group can act as a person.

I read your "Money is Worthless" debate. It was a waste of my time. You made no actual argument and resorted to petty insults and childish antics to make your point. There was no reason for me to look at it, since it doesn't act as a source. I reject all of the assertions that you made in your final paragraph as baseless.

Throughout this debate, you have given no specifics, and never given any actual reason that this idea would work. The general concept is interesting, but in practice, having consumer groups be elected to public office would result in a government that would be even more corrupt and less efficient than the one we have now.
Debate Round No. 3
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Flare_Corran 7 years ago
Flare_Corran
... If I were a corporation, wouldn't I have argued on your side?
Posted by InfraRedEd 7 years ago
InfraRedEd
You're probably a corporation yourself Flare.
Posted by InfraRedEd 7 years ago
InfraRedEd
Only one out of seventy visitors bothered to vote. And all they have to do is click a damn button. Contributing evidence, as they say, toward a hypothesis that who cares.
Posted by rangersfootballclub 7 years ago
rangersfootballclub
nice site infared , didnt know that barrack obama relased a book about him doing coke and so on or that sarah palin was that much of a bitch lol.
Posted by InfraRedEd 7 years ago
InfraRedEd
Here's http://www.realchange.org... a great site for digging up dirt on politicians. All have sinned. Note especially Ralph Nader. But he gets the job done.
Posted by InfraRedEd 7 years ago
InfraRedEd
Allow only open-source computer programs to hold public office! We have the technology.
Posted by Flare_Corran 7 years ago
Flare_Corran
........

If you had time to go through my posts on other debates, wouldn't you have had time to reply instead?
Posted by InfraRedEd 7 years ago
InfraRedEd
"Laws against murder mean you have to put up with people you don't like."
-- Flare Corran
Posted by rangersfootballclub 7 years ago
rangersfootballclub
wow i should try that on my youtubes videos with 87 hits after a year ...

why would only 87 peoople want to watch the best of borat in his mankini ???
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
That was his opening statement. And refreshing just messes up the statistics.
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Vote Placed by Charlie_Danger 7 years ago
Charlie_Danger
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Vote Placed by philosphical 7 years ago
philosphical
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Vote Placed by LB628 7 years ago
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