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Are Special Interests Blowing a 'Bubble' In Modern American Politics?

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Money has always played a role in politics, but the degree to which it has infiltrated our political system over the past 20 years leaves very little room for trust and ethics.

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Let's just come out and state the obvious. It's nearly impossible to trust that the current political system has the conviction necessary to effect positive change for our nation and its future: our children. It seems like most of our politicians are more interested in expending energy entertaining the many distractions of "today" rather than exploring the vision of "tomorrow." And this isn't isolated to one or two events or issues. Nor is it something that can likely be solved in a two party dominated system. Politics has become a divisive disease, spreading through the system and attempting to suck the people in and pit them against each other.

Problem number one: money. Problem number two: more money. Money has always played a role in politics, but the degree to which it has infiltrated our political system over the past 20 years leaves very little room for trust and ethics. A little bit of schmoozing is one thing, but that has turned into an industry fed by an over-sized government. And thus, our national problems are reverberating in parallel fashion.

Quite frankly, until we the people demand limits on special interest groups and reform the system of lobbying power, our economic promise will remain uncertain. It's like giving your kid a cookie during potty training. You offer the cookie to "train" them and "reward" them. It takes very little common sense to understand that politicians should not be trained nor excessively rewarded for the decisions they make. Politics should be about protecting liberties, embracing the fabric of our country, and working and sacrificing for a brighter future. But to be clear, the system has grown too large. Politicians, and many with good hearts, are being overwhelmed (or knocked unconscious) by a system of money and special interests. And this is precisely why we see politicians giving robotic speeches that put party interests ahead of the people they represent at a crucial time in American history.

Just as greed brought performance-enhancing drugs to sports and blew bubbles in housing and credit markets, it is now blowing a bubble within our political system. And when it pops, and no doubt it will, the power will be restored to the people. Why? Because it has to. Will it be painful? Yes, and uncertain like a stock market bottom. And how would the transition play out? The information age will empower new leaders through personal passion. Our best hope is that a strong movement based on transparency emerges and pushes for third party status.

But the problems aren't confined solely to the government. We have to realize that we are part of the problem as well. The structural imbalances are both personal and national. Our government is heavily in debt and many individuals share in a vision of lifestyle that is either outside their means or at a threshold that leaves them with little for wealth creation. We need to step back and reevaluate the options with compassion and care. And sacrifice.

It's a delicate time and those that try to find the least amount of pain in their solutions are not facing the proverbial music. No matter if you are raising a racket on the left or the right, your message should be about shared sacrifice for a better tomorrow. And that is precisely the tone and purpose that American politics should have. Whether it's large spending cuts or tax increases, the people will feel some pain. But a true transparent path to progress is what we need.

So I say, enough of the fringe issues and distractions that turn people on people. Let's get to the meat of making America healthy. And that includes sacrifice, transparency, and an unshaken goal for a better tomorrow.

Editor's Note: Andrew Nyquist is an independent investor based in the Minneapolis area. This article originally appeared on his investing and economics site, See It Market.

Twitter: @andrewnyquist
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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