POSTED ON MAY 18, 2011:
The already affluent win big again
The Supreme Court's decision called Citizens United is destroying this country.
It was bad enough that multi-millionaires are getting so many loophole tax breaks and subsidies to keep them getting richer, while the middle class keeps losing their share of the American dream. But the recent Supreme Court decision made it possible for the affluent class, the big-money banks and corporations to buy the American political system.
You and I are limited in donating to any particular political candidate. Not so, for the super-rich and their running buddies. In addition to all the special favors the wealthy 2 percent get for just being rich, they are now allowed by law to donate all they want to politicians. They get to bundle up all the money they care to invest to keep their special privileges and to hire all the lobbyists, lawyers and so-called experts they need to assure their strangle-hold on the economy. Since when does big money equate to free speech? Since the Citizens United case said it did, that's when.
For the last 100 years, the rich class and large business interests were limited on the amount of money they could spend in election politics. Not so, anymore, and it shows! For the last decade, the middle class in this country has slowly been sold down the river. Both political parties share the blame, but in different ways.
While the Republicans welcomed the Citizens United decision, the Democrats did not. However, the Democrats were backed into a corner. Court big-money to get elected or perish!
It is estimated that President Obama will raise a billion dollars for his re-election campaign. In order to do so, he must pander to wealthy individuals and big corporations -- many of whom will be giving money to the Republican candidate, as well.
When it was argued in court, the labor unions opposed the Citizens United case, even though the law being overturned has limiting them as well as the corporations. Unions are now no longer limited in donations, either. So this decision makes big money the primary concern for politicians. This is especially damaging in the public sector where the public employee unions are donating to the same politicians who will be negotiating their contracts.
Most money for elections now comes from four sources: labor unions, the super-rich, big banks and major corporations. The amount of funds raised by the middle class are no longer as important as they used to be and it shows in the decisions being made in Congress.
All this money in our political system has corrupted our republic. Can our nation survive?
That is the question.
-(Hap Lowry is a local speaker and writer. He writes a weekly column for the Sapulpa News Herald)
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