We host Lawrence Lessig on October 28 discussing how ‘the economy of influence’ defeats the will of the people. His new book is REPUBLIC, LOST: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It. Lessig recently commented on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’ pledge to withhold campaign contributions “until [politicians] strike a bipartisan, balanced long-term debt deal that addresses both entitlements and revenues.” An excerpt from that commentary follows:
“…….Schultz is right that something profoundly bad has happened to American politics. He is also right to tie that profound bad to the endless addiction that our elected officials have to campaign cash……But however right his motivation, Schultz’s pledge to withhold campaign dollars until Congress agrees on a budget won’t fix this mess. No doubt, you can get an addict to clean up the garage by withholding his fix until he is done. But that won’t help the addict end his addiction. The same with our cash-addicted-Congress: What reformers like Schultz need to do is to use their power to get Congress to end its addiction, by pushing for reforms that would make it possible for government to act sanely and independently of special interest funders.