The Danger of Citizens United
How does a democracy that allows free markets and open capitalism become a plutocracy? By allowing special interests to spend an unlimited and anonymous amount of money on the political candidate or cause of their choice. That’s how! This is Citizens United in a nutshell. Of all the stupid, idiotic, ill thought, and repugnant decisions the Roberts Supreme Court has rendered, Citizens United has to be the crown Jewel.
Both Jefferson and Lincoln, undoubtedly two of our greatest iconic figures, warned against the dangers of the “Moneyed Interests” ruining democracy. Karl Marx wrote about capitalism “imploding” when one class systematically extracts profit from another. Greed breeds more greed and when allowed to run ramp shod over a democracy, a plutocracy is likely to evolve. Are we becoming a nation Karl Marx described?
The Plutocracy of 2012
As the presidential election comes near, we’re now told by certain Republican power brokers in the GOP (Giant Omnipotent Plutocrats) that corporate funds to the tune of One Billion Dollars are being martialed to unseat Barack Obama. Since “Citizens United,” we’ll never know exactly who or what corporation is banking this war chest, we’ll just have to hope it’s not some Iranian PAC disguised as an American company selling dish detergent. This could actually happen according to retired Justice Stephens who wrote a scathing 90-page dissent of his brethren’s decision. Here’s a hypothetical example: Take an average U.S. corporation, say closely held, capitalized at $500. Any corporation will do and it costs around $2,000 these days to form one. Now have the Iranian Government invest $100 Million dollars in the corporation. Call it Super Dust Busters Inc. Under the current laws, Super Dust Busters Inc. can invest $100 MILLION DOLLARS on the candidate or cause of its choosing. It might be to elect a candidate who’ll advocate the removal of trade barriers between Iran and the United States. We’ll never know because under Citizens United the source of donations doesn’t need to be disclosed. Huh? What the Fuck?
The Average American Under Attack.
In a report by David DeGraw titled: “The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA he concludes:
The Economic Elite have escalated their attack on U.S. workers over the past few years; however, this attack began to build intensity in the 1970s. In 1970, CEOs made $25 for every $1 the average worker made. Due to technological advancements, production and profit levels exploded from 1970 – 2000. With the lion’s share of increased profits going to the CEO’s, this pay ratio dramatically rose to $90 for CEOs to $1 for the average worker.
As ridiculous as that seems, an in-depth study in 2004 on the explosion of CEO pay revealed that, including stock options and other benefits, CEO pay is more accurately $500 to $1.
Paul Buchheit, from DePaul University, revealed, “From 1980 to 2006 the richest 1% of America tripled their after-tax percentage of our nation’s total income, while the bottom 90% have seen their share drop over 20%.” Robert Freeman added, “Between 2002 and 2006, it was even worse: an astounding three-quarters of all the economy’s growth was captured by the top 1%.”
Due to this, the United States already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the average worker much harder than CEOs, the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99% of the US population has grown to a record high. The economic top one percent of the population now owns over 70% of all financial assets, an all-time record.
Are we become a society ruled by the wealthy? Look around….it’s already happened.