Can a Politician Win Without Wall Street ??
08/06/2012 6 comentarios
A Grim Scenario for the 99 percent. In the Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to the health of the American political process. In the name of free speech for all, the court instead empowered speech by those who control corporate treasuries, and by billionaires who want to personally sponsor presidential candidates. As a result, this year’s election, more than ever, seems to be captured by the “1%”. Super PACs, malign spawn of Citizens United, are little more than vehicles to buy electoral influence for those who can contribute six, seven or even eight-figure amounts. While donors to super PACs are (usually) known to the public, the shy among the “1 percent” give their millions to “social welfare” organizations, groups that do not have to disclose their donors and that, in an effort to dupe the I.R.S., pretend their campaign ads are “issue” ads. It is a grim scenario. Any candidate who lacks the help of a friendly super PAC is likely to be overwhelmed by an opponent’s big money, unless (like in the Massachusetts Senate race) candidates can negotiate a mutual disarmament treaty. Even most well-intentioned candidate today will have a hard time competing if he or she cannot cultivate support from the wealthy. It’s little wonder a campaign finance system so skewed to wealthy donors results in a government incapable of raising taxes on those same wealthy donors. They’re getting a good return on their investment. Although grim, its not hopeless. A widely discussed reform would be to empower small donors, those who contribute $250 or less, through a system of public financing that provides a multiple match of their small donations. Under such a system, a $200 donation could result in $1,200 to the candidate. This would allow candidates to have a shot at amassing sufficient campaign funds even without focusing their time and attention on the wealthy alone. It’s not a panacea, but it would restore some balance to a system that is now 99% engineered for the benefit of the 1%.