Politician Mart Let’s face it, US politicians are a commodity. A commodity is most any kind of raw material traded in a specialized market. Raw materials are processed, to make them useful as in iron ore or petroleum, or to add value, a euphemism for the disproportionate increase of profit, as in rice pilaf or dill pickles. If we look at the current US political maze, we find a similar system. Commodity markets involve a number of Players coordinating their efforts for the good of the Few (1%) through the exploitation of the Many (99%.) These Players “provide” materials, transportation, auction and clearing houses, and financial services, then it’s on to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. These Players spin out a number of mini-players, such as regulatory agencies, brokers, trade associations and lobbyists, and professional marketing organizations, to name a few. Raw materials are the foundations for everything from the food you eat, to the clothes you wear, to the home you live in, to the pickup you can’t keep tires on. Market Players, affectionately known as The One Percent, come with different titles, such as Miners, Drillers, Financiers, Industrialists, Technocrats and so on. For today’s lesson, we’ll study a particular One Percent that will illustrate how the politician market works; Factory Farmers. Through understanding how Factory Farmers work, we can understand how our commodified politicians are selected, prepared, packaged, and served up to Consumers, aka Voters (but rarely called “human beings,” or “people” anymore.) Factory Farmers study what seeds will produce the best results for them. But politician-seeds aren’t just any seeds. They’re selected from a limited number of families, kind of like the Mafia, that tend toward “dynasties” then preprocessed by elite universities, rendering them genetically modified. Seeds showing the greatest promise of return on investment are planted and cultivated by the Factory Farmers. We’ll call the Factory Farmer’s soil Super-PAC Contributions and Other Secret Perks, or Money for short. This is a good environment for the Seeds because the Farmers pay very close attention to their soil. And it is rich. Very rich. When these seeds mature into the plants the Farmers want, they are taken to the Politician Market, parsed out according to type, sold, specialty-processed, manufactured, packaged, distributed, then marketed to the Consuming Public. Retail. Factory Farmers are very smart people. They know that if their hybrid seeds are allowed to reproduce on their own, that is, without the special preprocessing and cultivation in the Factory Farmers very rich soil, the Farmers could lose control of their livelihood. So they contracted with the One Percent Processors, who subcontracted with the universities, and they added “sterilization” to the menu of genetic modifications they required for their hybrid seeds. Granted, this shortens the shelf life of most politicians, and would appear to cost the Factory Farmers a little more, but that write-off actually increases their bottom line through tax loopholes and corporate subsidies, one of the easier returns on investment to get from their hybrid seeds after they bear fruit. This gives the Factory Farmers maximum control over future generation crops through sophisticated and hard to see or understand prepossessing technologies. So, given we’ve recognized politicians are a commodity, traded like beans or sow bellies, and are processed through universities then further made useful through additional processes, what next? They are sold to the public. At this point we need a way to arrange all these seeds in an organized fashion to maximize the investments of the One Percent, which is precisely what our current election process does; provide a window where the One Percent can extend their control into this market the same way they do others. The trick is to make it appear it’s done out in the open in what we’ll call the Theater of the American Dream, aka Demockracy Mart, and it must be done in such a way the Consuming Public actually believes it had something to do with it. Further, it must be packaged so Consumers will like it. And it doesn’t matter which seed product the majority of Consumers go for, the Factory Farmers provide all of it, so they profit, no matter what brand of politician Consumers choose. This may all be well and good, but can we improve it to help our elected Consumer Servants better serve their markets? In a word, yes. We have another model to pattern a revamp of our current system after, and that is the Hallowed New York Stock Exchange. Not only is it a perfect institution to help us reorganize the way our buy-cameral government divides up power, it could actually eliminate the need for elections entirely. Not to mention its high ethical standards and world- renowned reputation for honest dealing setting the standard for our new Politician Market. Just as any company must qualify before it can be listed on the stock exchange, so must a politician. The higher the office, the more stringent the qualifications. We can figure this out later in closed door negotiations, using the opera Darth Cheney and the Oil Companies as precedent. Politicians are offered to investors like any other common stock. People buy shares in the politician of their choice. The money goes to the politician; it’s her or his salary. But, they have to pay office rent and staff salaries out of it. Politicians who sell, get to continue working for Consumers. Politicians who do not sell, get to go home. End of story, no lifetime pension for just two years of “service,” no special health coverage, nothing more than standard social security and so forth. Politician stock is a specialized stock, but nothing so cool as the federally guaranteed Fantasy Derivatives those clever free market mavens cooked up. Politician stock value would not be derived from algorithms based on statistical models of the casino business. Valuation would be based on the number of unique stockholders who have invested in a particular politician. Each stockholder name equals one vote a politician has when voting on an issue. For instance, two candidates from District 11 serve in Congress, politician A put there by 125,000 real-people voters, politician B put there by 6 real- corporation-people voters (let’s call these voters Supreme Court Zombies.) Both politicians met the requirements of the Politician Mart, so both are entitled to serve their respective Consumers of Political Services. Should the valuation of a stock drop below the minimum qualifications, that politician is taken off the board. This could happen at any time; it does not require an election, which would save billions in campaign dollars; politician stock would be more cost effective. It would also free up TV advertising for more pharmaceutical drug ads. If no politician’s stock qualifies for a certain position, say Iowa senator, that position stays vacant until the criterion is met. The beauty of this system is that it makes it possible for more than one politician to represent a political district, state, or the US. Again, Candidate A put in office by the 125,000 Consumers, and Candidate B put in office by the Zombie Corporation, et al, both represent District 11. When Candidate A votes on an issue, he actually has 125,00 votes, or points. When Candidate B votes on an issue, he has six. This is a form of proportional representation, which works, by the way. Study the political history of Illinois some time. Like any other stock, politician stock is traded daily, which keeps politicians engaged with their consumers, encourages them to decline those all expense paid trips to Zombie Corp’se annual pep rally in Tahiti, and forces them to work more than those laborious 28 hours a week when they’re in town to produce results and knock off their self-righteous posturing. This system would end this whole PAC nonsense, too. Living people just aren’t buying the Supreme Court’s insistence corporations really are people. I should be offended by that, I know, but I think it’s actually quite funny. I can’t wait to see how absurd this gets before someone finally wakes up and notices the big pile of crap in the middle of the court room. After all, if a corporation really is a person, then why is BP, Inc. not going to jail since it was found guilty of criminal misconduct? But I digress. I think a system like this would work well as it is real-time. Political Services Consumers would not be shackled with poor performing stocks for an arbitrarily imposed period, known as terms. This helps the politicians keep pace with Consumers. There may be a slight drawback in time lost to the learning curves of so many new stocks replacing those that don’t work out, but that’s where bureaucrats come in, those shadowy Archons who really run the government. I’ll address this in a future article. And the return on investment is measured differently than in direct financial terms. If, for starters, the US political culture could be reformulated to create jobs, institute sane environmental policies, force a major overhaul of our money system -- did I say major? -- and get us out of the international policeman business, that would be a good start.