Q. What would have to happen for our political system to change and corruption to lessen?
BELLER: Obviously, power corrupts. In many cases the temptation to participate is overwhelming, even for a politician who starts out with good intentions. My suggestions would not totally solve the problem of ill-intentioned power seekers, but they would not be influenced by the need to raise campaign funds from these special interest groups.
First of all, I would overhaul the rules governing the funding of political campaigns at all levels. As idealistic as this sounds, I would elim-inate all lobbyists. I would rewrite campaign finance law so that no one may contribute to any candidate. Political candidates would receive a fixed amount of taxpayer dollars, with every qualifying candidate receiving the same allotment. Debates would be sponsored by TV stations and paid for by the taxpayer. A specific program would be defined and apply to each election. If lobbying and campaign funding by individuals and special interest groups were altered, as I am suggesting, the cost to the taxpayers would be a small fraction of the cost which ripples through the economy when the special interest groups pass along the cost of their agendas to the consumers. A prime example is Big Pharma and the healthcare lobby. My suggested program would clearly mitigate the corruption to the great benefit of the citizens of the United States at every level.
Q. You have travelled extensively but have chosen to live in Chicago for over twenty-five years. What attracted you to select Chicago as your home?
BELLER: I have spent extended periods of time in many cities around the country. There are a number of reasons I choose to make Chicago my home. For anyone who has visited Chicago, and particularly in the spring, summer and fall, I don’t have to explain the attraction of the city. The city life offers an affordable lifestyle in a beautiful, clean urban environment. The arts, entertainment and dining options are extensive. The city is known as “The City that Works", and I find this to be true. The transportation options throughout the metropolitan Chicago area, as well as its proximity to two major airports, makes Chicago's accessibility to world travel second to none, in my opinion. Additionally, I find the Midwestern attitude and mentality, as evidenced by the friends I’ve made, better than anywhere else in the country. I love visiting New York and California, but for a home base, I choose Chicago.
Q. You call yourself a political junkie, and you are obviously well read, tell us what you read regularly, and add to that books you find to be among your favorites.
BELLER: I subscribe to about thirty publications a month. I consider myself a serial reader of newsletters, both political and financial. I regularly read the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times, USA Today, Chicago Crain’s as well as the two local Chicago newspapers. I read The Economist, and alternate between a number of monthly magazines, roughly eight to ten when I am home, and more when I travel. I read daily postings on many websites and from bloggers. Additionally, I subscribe to at least a dozen daily online newsletters. I estimate I spend a minimum of two hours a day during the week and roughly three to four hours on weekend days.
To name a few books I enjoyed these past few years, I would include 2030 by Albert Brooks, Game Changer, The Amateur by Edward Klein, as well as a number of biographies, which I typically read when I travel. My favorite novel is The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.
Q. What projects are on tap for G. A. Beller?
BELLER: I am co-authoring a second novel, which is about a childless couple who sponsor a young girl from India through a national children's fund. It's based upon a true story, taking readers on a miracle ride spanning a thirty-five year period. The reader will experience the changes to the lives of the main characters and hundreds of thousands of others. This novel will be the first in the Defining Karma™ book series, and will be an ongoing program for G. Anton Publishing. www.definingkarma.com