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Capitalist Cronies Control Our Democracy

By The Reverend Published: March 11, 2014

Kevin Drum....

Democrats have done virtually nothing for the middle class for three decades now. They're nearly as reliant on the business community for campaign funding as Republicans.


There used to be many more liberals in Congress, now there is but a few. Noam Chomsky recently claimed that there is a case to be made that Richard Nixon was our most recent liberal president. Point being that political lines have shifted drastically over the last 30 years.....and that shift has continually been to the right.

The reason for the nation's non-stop slog towards the right is campaign financing. I keep mentioning that number one problem.....because if that problem is not properly dealt with everyone on both sides can kiss their democratic republic goodbye.

To illustrate.....Time Warner recently accepted a bid from Comcast to purchase it's cable business, ostensibly leaving only one huge provider. Way back in the dinosaur age when the words monopoly and anti-trust actually meant something, Comcast's takeover of Time Warner would not have been permitted....or at the very least, fought hard by Congress. Those days are long over. Why?

Corporate campaign cash.

Before someone faints from screaming "free speech"......does the following sound fair....

" from Comcast's political action committee has flowed to all but three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Checks have landed in the campaign coffers of Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who oversee the chamber's antitrust panel. Meanwhile, the cable giant has donated in some way to 32 of the 39 members of the House Judiciary Committee, which is planning a hearing of its own."

House members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology received $853,525 from Comcast between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2012. Members of the 109th, 110th, 111th and 112th Congresses also received $6,678,446 from Comcast between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2012.

BEFORE Citizens United, congressional members spent half their time raising campaign money. Since Citizens United, even more time is being spent every day by elected officials raising re-election campaign monies. Did you realize that when you vote to elect, and pay, a congressional member over $160K per year, you were electing that person to spend over half of his work time begging for re-election money?

Comcast realizes that.

And so I have little doubt that Comcast will receive a green light to become our nation's lone cable superpower. Sure, cable prices will increase while service will suffer....but to me, that seems like the modern American Capitalistic Way. Maybe I'm too cynical.

Lately, conservatives of the Tea kind have, rightly, complained about "crony capitalism." The problem though is that the Teas singularly accuse Barack Obama of practicing "crony capitalism"....also referred to as "picking winners and losers."

The truth is that the United States of America, through it's elected government and the courts, have legalized crony capitalism. Elected Republicans, I would suggest, have always practiced crony capitalism.....because they are against governance, per se, (government is the problem, not the solution)....and regard elected office only as a vehicle to reward politically connected businesses and corporations. That is why Republicans, mostly, still celebrate Citizens United.

But Democrats....and especially Democrats from Bill Clinton forward.....have proposed a Third Way....the New Democrats. Neo-liberals, they're called. In short, these "new" Democrats, fearing being overwhelmed by ever-richer corporate donors to Republicans, joined the Big Money game. These "new" Democrats have been playing the corporate-money game in earnest for the last 25 years now. These "new" Democrats, switching rather than fighting, explain their capitulation to crony capitalism by trying to persuade voters that "using" the corporate-loot method, the party can still promote progressive causes for the People.

Progressive causes like the Medicare plan D program that rewards Big Pharma and Big Insurance with heftier profits...while helping many seniors. The same is true of Obamacare. It would seem now that no government program or law can be passed unless for-profit corporations also receive some type of windfall. Remember here, most, if not all, of those windfalls come compliments of U.S. tax monies.

The source of this slow-rot of our democracy is campaign financing. Pretending that the legalizing of crony capitalism through our now-wretched and evil system of buying elected officials is not the nuclear core for much of our nation's decline and economic inequality just won't cut it anymore.

Is it really THAT bad? Decide for yourself....

In the 2010 election, it cost, on average, $8,002,726 to run for a Senate seat and $1,163,231 for the average House seat according to the campaign finance institute. That's the "cover charge" to get into the exclusive club of governance.

Oh, but what about all those small campaign donations from average-citizen donors. Surely, those small donations add up, right? Wrong. Only .26% (point two six percent) of Americans contributed more than $200 to fund campaigns. What does that mean?

That means one fourth of one percent of Americans were responsible for elevating candidates to election.

Like I mentioned......legalized crony capitalism. It's now the American Way.



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