Your Secret Weapon

Ninety-five percent of American’s own a cell phone, but most of them don’t realize this device is their secret weapon to real change. Imagine if 95% of Americans called their Members of Congress daily and demanded they work for the people instead of special interests, corporations, and the 1%. Just imagine the progress that could be made to benefit the average American. But Congress knows all too well the American people aren’t paying attention to Washington. In fact, according to a 2013 Gallup Poll, only 35 percent of citizens can name their Members of Congress. In other words, two-thirds of adults have no idea who represents them in Washington. That bears repeating – two-thirds of American’s don’t care enough to know the name of the person that makes decisions on healthcare, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and other important programs that impact the public. The tragedy of this finding is it emboldens Congress to ignore the average hardworking American. Make no mistake. Special interests, corporations, and the 1% are definitely paying attention. They send hordes of lobbyists to the capital to convince Congress to vote against the interests of the average citizen. They make fat campaign contributions to buy loyalty. And they are very successful at getting their way.

So why should the average American care about what Congress does? Legislation is boring and doesn’t matter anyway, right? WRONG! Bills that are passed in Washington became laws that impact the lives of American citizens. In some instances, the laws could mean the difference between life or death. Let’s take a look at prescription drugs for example. The United States has the highest drug costs among similar developed countries.

Why is that? Consider this. The Pharmaceutical / Health Products industry spends more on lobbying than any other group. The Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets.org) reported that by August 7th, Big Pharma had spent $144,778,982 on lobbying in 2017. A distant second was the Insurance lobby with $78,756,512 invested in 2017. Big Pharma spent twice that of the Insurance industry. And they were well rewarded for their investment. They were successful in eliminating competition from other countries by making it illegal to buy drugs outside of the United States. Even from Canada. When Medicare Part D, the prescription drug law passed in 2003, the drug lobby worked night and day to ensure that Medicare was forbidden from negotiating lower drug prices like the Veteran’s Administration.

Chart on Cost of Medicinal Drugs by Country

According to a 2015 study by the American Medical Association, 59% of Americans take at least one prescription drug. That’s millions and millions of American’s that are paying more than they should for medicine. Imagine how much money they would save if they were allowed to buy medicine from Canada and if Medicare could negotiate lower prices. Ask yourself, who benefited from these bills? The answer describes who Congress is working for.

The only way Congress will listen is if we make them. How is that possible when we don’t have lobbyists or millions of dollars for campaign donations? The answer is simple. We have something they don’t. We have the power of numbers. They have millions of dollars, but we have millions of voices. Our combined voices have to be so loud and so strong that they can’t ignore us any longer.

The secret weapon to real change fits in your hand. Use the Congress lookup on our website, 99PercentOutLoud.org, and store the phone number of your Members of Congress in your cell contacts. Then call your Members of Congress regularly. Make it a part of your routine. Call after your cup of coffee in the morning. Or after you walk your dog. Or after you take your morning run. The important thing is to call. Make your voice heard. Don’t let Congress ignore the American people any longer while they pad the pockets of special interests, corporations, and the 1%. Really annoy them and get involved. Remind Congress who they work for.

 

October 1st, 2017

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