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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reich: The Selling of American Democracy

Robert Reich says "You need to make a ruckus":

The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm, by Robert Reich: Who’s buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn. And they’re doing much of it in secret. It’s a perfect storm:
The greatest concentration of wealth in more than a century — courtesy “trickle-down” economics, Reagan and Bush tax cuts, and the demise of organized labor.
Combined with…
Unlimited political contributions — courtesy of Republican-appointed Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy, in one of the dumbest decisions in Supreme Court history, “Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission”...
Combined with…
Complete secrecy about who’s contributing how much to whom — courtesy of a loophole in the tax laws that allows so-called non-profit “social welfare” organizations to accept the unlimited contributions for hard-hitting political ads.
Put them all together and our democracy is being sold down the drain.
With a more equitable and traditional distribution of wealth, far more Americans would have a fair chance of influencing politics. ... Alternatively, inequality wouldn’t be as much of a problem if we had strict laws limiting political spending or, at the very least, disclosing who was contributing what. 
But we have an almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and unlimited political spending and secrecy. 
I’m not letting Democrats off the hook. Democratic candidates are still too dependent on Wall Street casino moguls and real casino magnates... But make no mistake. Compared to what the GOP is doing this year, Democrats are conducting a high-school bake sale. ...
You need to make a ruckus. Don’t fall into the seductive trap of cynicism. That’s what the sellers of American democracy are counting on. If you give up on our system of government, they win everything.  
This coming Monday, for example, the Senate has scheduled a cloture vote on the DISCLOSE ACT, which would at least require that outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s “Crossroads GPS” disclose who’s contributing what. Contact your senators... If the DISCLOSE ACT is voted down, hold accountable those senators (and, when and if it gets to the House, those House members) who are selling out our democracy for the sake of their own personal ambitions.

I believe the political empowerment of the working class -- replacing, for example, what was lost with the demise of unions -- is the best way to make politicians more responsive to the needs of lower income households. The problem, of course, is how to make this happen.

    Posted by on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 06:03 AM in Economics, Income Distribution, Politics | Permalink  Comments (35)


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