NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Both the Republicans and Democrats have jobs bills. Neither will pass, and this is our government. Both parties have moved so far from the middle that nothing gets done. They can't even get together on an issue on which they both agree such as immigration. We all see this. it's nothing new.
When and why did it become so extreme?
Republicans actually have a name to insult other Republicans who are not extreme enough: Rino, or Republican in name only. It's not limited to Republicans. Democrats have gathered the emails and names of everyone who has ever shown interest in the Democratic party and bombard these people with emails asking for political donations, trying to stir up the base against everything Republican.
Here's a recent email subject: "Hobby Lobby: Stand with us to fight back, (enter recipients name here)."
While the two sides have never seen eye to eye, it is interesting to see that they seem to be further apart than ever before. As money has entered the game, extremism has become the game. Lobbyists and Super PACs are now more powerful than constituents. We've allowed this to happen.
The Citizens United decision allowed corporations, association, labor unions, etc. to pool their money and form Super PACs. As this money has flowed towards different campaigns and political issues, it has polarized our government. Should any lawmaker go against the grain, he or she will no longer be in office. It's that simple. Money rules and no jobs bill will survive or be agreed upon.
I think about 94% of the time the politician who raises the most money wins the election. In addition, for every single dollar a company spends on lobbying, it gets a return of between $6 to $20 in tax breaks, subsidies, etc.
So, without saying that it is straight-up quid pro quo, one could argue this: There is definitely a correlation between raising money and being re-elected. The vast majority of these donations come from Super PACs, corporations and lobbyists. Because lobbying has yielded between $6 to $20 for every single dollar spent, one could argue that it pays to donate.
Think about that for a second. We've been in the worst recession since the Great Depression and the federal government couldn't come together for a single jobs bill! Unemployment is still above 6% yet our nation's infrastructure is falling apart.
How is it we can afford to spend billions on robot mules but not redo roads in the state of New York? The answer is money. Lobbyists have petitioned and argued on behalf of these absurd experiments. Their answer? Raise the gas tax. Seriously? We want to raise the cost of living to maintain roads despite high unemployment? That's like spanking my youngest son because I can't get my oldest son to eat his dinner.
One might think that this article is playing too fast and loose with the figures, so we'll lay out some examples of how well lobbying has worked in the recent past. All figures are borrowed from opensecrets.org. In addition, it is important to point out that nothing below should be considered quid pro quo. There is no way of knowing if a politician outright agreed to give any of these earmarks for campaign donations, or if it was just a coincidence!
Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., received donations from Stidd Systems and the company ended up with a $3.6 million earmark. Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., received donations from Chang Industry. It got a $3.2 million earmark. AeroVironment (AVAV) donated to Dreier and got a $1 million earmark. Republican Rich Shelby of Alabama wrote 23 earmarks for $90mil to campaign donors or companies that lobbied him.
These are just a few examples. Ed Pastor, Robert Aderhold, Edward J. Markey, Joe Courtney, Dick Lugar, Steve Buyer, Mark Souder, Andre Carson, David Loebsack, Todd Tiahrt, and many other House and Senate members wrote earmarks over the years for corporations that donated to their Super PACs or campaigns, according to public data.
So we can't get a jobs, immigration or an infrastructure bill passed but we have seen that lobbying and donating has worked up to twentyfold.
Government is no longer working for constituents, but donating to a campaign still works.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.