Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Money Talks!

An extremely interesting statement appears in the New York Times this morning (January 29, 2015) in a story about the Koch brothers 900 million dollar plan to grasp control of state and federal governments in the 1916 elections. The statement “The group’s budget, disclosed by a conference attendee, reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation, which has sought to distinguish itself from other outside groups by emphasizing the role of donors over consultants and political operatives.” tells all of us and, hopefully, members of the U.S. Supreme Court that money buys results. The 5-4 Citizens United decision five years ago danced around the definition of corruption and the Court reversed its own decisions as well as a legislative history of over 100 years in giving corporations and individuals the unlimited right to donate as much money as they want in exercising their, ahem, first amendment right to participate in our rapidly-evolving oligarchic-hybrid form of democracy. This hybrid has as its motto “Money talks.” This is no equal playing field, folks. The millions of us who are willing and able to contribute fifty or a hundred dollars to a favorite candidate are being left in the literal dust as the Koch-types purchase more and more politicians to advance their own objectives.

Under current law, campaign contributions are illegal if there is an explicit quid pro quo, and legal if there isn’t. But legal campaign contributions can be as bad as bribes in creating obligations, the tit-for-tat being the gateway to bribes. In the current campaign financing system, candidates receive cash and respond by serving donors’ interests. Politicians spend more than half their time talking to their funding sources, seeking money and keeping them happy. We will undoubtedly hear current Republican members of Congress campaign the next election cycle parroting what the Koch brothers want. Statements like “I voted to repeal Obamacare 42 times” will be viewed by the Kochs as an affirmation of their control over these politicians, because the pols really don’t give a damn what or how they do things so long as the money continues to flow. Unlimited spending on these politicians is a poison that has entered the bloodstream of American democracy. This process is a real threat to our democracy. If left unchecked, the country is going to go to “hell in a hand basket.”

Just saying . .  .

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