As income and wealth become ever more concentrated in America, the nation’s billionaire political investors will invest even more.
A record $6 billion was spent on the 2012 campaign, and outside groups poured $1.3 billion into political races, according to data from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.
That’s why Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission has to be reversed – either by a Supreme Court that becomes aware of the poison it’s unleashed into our democracy, or by constitutional amendment.
It’s also why we need full disclosure of who contributes what to whom.
And public financing that matches public money to contributions from small donors.
Most fundamentally, it’s why America’s widening inequality must be reversed.
Last night, with the help of more of these billionaires (in this case, the Koch brothers) Michigan’s legislature passed a right to work law, almost in full secrecy, and the governor signed it within hours, as if there was some danger that the ink would fade before he got his pen on it. The sneakiness is the point; these folks are afraid of their own constituencies. As always with the right, if the problem is democracy, dump the democratic process.
Or, perhaps, they are afraid of people more powerful than their citizens: those billionaires again. The right has been working on this for decades now, starting with the election of Reagan and the destruction of PATCO. The billionaires seed the state legislatures with right-wing legislation, written through ALEC, and they push astroturf Tea Party candidates to make sure they have the votes to get their laws passed. It’s a nearly ideal system.
We managed to stop one of them from becoming president, but that single presidential election, and even the gains in the Senate, or even in the Michigan legislature, can’t overcome the billionaires’ political machine, which rolls on, seemingly unaffected. As Riech says, they won’t stop until something makes them stop. He puts his faith in the Supreme Court, or a constitutional amendment. I think the only real hope lies in well-organized people.