Is the United States an Oligarchy, Plutocracy, Anarchy or Greed-ocracy?
We sure as heck aren’t a Democracy anymore.
In the beginning…..we were a Democracy.
In 1787 our constitution was designed to be a balanced system of law. To ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches (someone please tell John Boehner this, I am tired of hearing him say there is nothing he can do):
- The President can veto the laws of the Congress;
- The Congress confirms or rejects the President’s appointments and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances;
- The justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Even though those three branches are still in place, we no longer have a balanced system of law. We have the best government money can buy: 435 members of the house, 100 in the senate, and over 261,000 lobbyists that special interest groups employ. And a Supreme Court that clearly believes in putting their political convictions into the laws of the land.
The Supreme Court Ruling Citizens United in 2010 opened the floodgates of money into the political process like never before. With people like Sheldon Adleson saying his donations will be ‘limitless’, up to $100 million. A reality check – the $10 million contribution he just made to Romney’s campaign is equivalent to $40 for an American family with a net worth of $100,000. That’s really nothing for a man whose net worth is roughly $25 Billion. He could easily spend another $900 million without too much pain. He says“I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections,” he shrugs. “But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it”. One of the 14 richest people in the world, and 7th richest in the United States, he probably is used to buying whatever he wants, and a presidential election isn’t off limits.
In an interview with Forbes magazine he goes on to say he wants to take the president out for economic reasons. “What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives. What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything and I’ll go fish or I won’t work, etc.” (Forbes says “the man whose net worth, by Forbes’ calculations, has jumped more ($21.6 billion) during the Obama administration than any other American — Mark Zuckerberg included”).
WOW. “Socialist-style economy.” Really?!? I don’t think he could have accumulated so much wealth in 4 years if that was true. I love his very simplistic statement about “let the government take care of everything and I’ll go fish or I won’t work, etc”. But I have no personal integrity about buying the presidential election because hey, what the heck, “it’s doable”. I‘ve worked hard, I made my money and I can buy what I want! Absolutely, but the Presidency? With Citizens United, anything is possible. It just takes money.
The problem is he isn’t the only Billionaire who has money to burn and sadly out of touch with reality. But when you’ve made over $21 Billion in the last four years while the entire global economy has been ruined, I would say you are clearly out of touch with what is really going on in the United States.
According to the Washington Post, “Romney has drawn the most support from billionaires, with at least 42 donating to his campaign”. Donations to Super PACs are not limited so billionaires can donate as much as they want. Stephen Colbert says “Super PACs haven’t led to billionaires secretly buying democracy; they’ve led to billionaires publicly buying it, the more money you have the more you can speak”. Early this year Stephen Colbert gave a factual and funny lesson on how Super PACs can be easily manipulated.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing Tuesday on “Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs”. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ has proposed the “Saving American Democracy Amendment” to over turn the Supreme Court decision in a case called Citizens United vs. FEC. (mentioned above). Sen. Sanders writes in an article titled “The Road to Oligarchy” and his testimony to the Senate includes the following:
“The Koch Brothers – David, Charles and William – are worth a combined $103 Billion according to Forbes 400. They have pledged to spend about $400 Million during the 2012 election season. So far this year 26 billionaires have donated more than $61 million to Super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And, that’s only what has been publicly disclosed. Billionaires buying the 2012 elections have a combined $195 Billion in wealth, more than the bottom forty-three percent of American households –that’s 50 Million families.”
And from Paul Farrell from Market watch “Billionaires love anarchy of this election cycle” “But if you are a billionaire and really want to change America … and you believe more-is-never-enough … and you want to make a lot more money in your business sector (like energy for the Koch Brothers), the best way is to bet on the one presidential candidate who’s going to return the favor, with good stuff like favorable regulations, subsidies and tax benefits.”
I would insert the word “buy” for bet in the sentence above.
So whats a poor non-billionaire to do?
Call, write, fax, email your elected officials to say support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Sign petitions, get active, vote. Do something. Share this with your friends. Take action. Now.