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McCutcheon, and the Vicious Cycle of Concentrated Wealth and Political Power

McCutcheon, and the Vicious Cycle of Concentrated Wealth and Political Power | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

Published on Friday, April 4, 2014 by RobertReich.org

 

If wealth and income weren’t already so concentrated in the hands of a few, the shameful “McCutcheon” decision by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court wouldn’t be as dangerous. But by taking “Citizen’s United” one step further and effectively eviscerating campaign finance laws, the Court has issued an invitation to oligarchy.


Almost limitless political donations coupled with America’s dramatically widening inequality create a vicious cycle in which the wealthy buy votes that lower their taxes, give them bailouts and subsidies, and deregulate their businesses – thereby making them even wealthier and capable of buying even more votes. Corruption breeds more corruption.


That the richest four hundred Americans now have more wealth than the poorest 150 million Americans put together, the wealthiest 1 percent own over 35 percent of the nation’s private assets, and 95 percent of all the economic gains since the start of the recovery in 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent — all of this is cause for worry, and not just because it means the middle class lacks the purchasing power necessary to get the economy out of first gear.

 

It is also worrisome because such great concentrations of wealth so readily compound themselves through politics, rigging the game in their favor and against everyone else. “McCutcheon” merely accelerates this vicious cycle.

 

As Thomas Piketty shows in his monumental “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” this was the pattern in advanced economies through much of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. And it is coming to be the pattern once again.

 

Picketty is pessimistic that much can be done to reverse it (his sweeping economic data suggest that slow growth will almost automatically concentrate great wealth in a relatively few hands). But he disregards the political upheavals and reforms that such wealth concentrations often inspire — such as America’s populist revolts of the 1890s followed by the progressive era, or the German socialist movement in the 1870s followed by Otto von Bismarck’s creation of the first welfare state.

 

In America of the late nineteenth century, the lackeys of robber barons literally deposited sacks of money on the desks of pliant legislators, prompting the great jurist Louis Brandeis to note that the nation had a choice: “We can have a democracy or we can have great wealth in the hands of a few,” he said. “But we cannot have both.”

 

Soon thereafter America made the choice. Public outrage gave birth to the nation’s first campaign finance laws, along with the first progressive income tax. The trusts were broken up and regulations imposed to bar impure food and drugs. Several states enacted America’s first labor protections, including the 40-hour workweek.

 

The question is when do we reach another tipping point, and what happens then?  

Coffee Party USA's insight:

In addition to the Coffee Party, a few links for helping to #GetMoneyOut of politics:

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

http://www.wolf-pac.com/

https://movetoamend.org/

http://www.nhrebellion.org/


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After aide shot, Cuomo pushes for national gun controls

After aide shot, Cuomo pushes for national gun controls | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
New York is home to some of the toughest gun laws in the country. But after an aide was shot Monday, New York Gov.
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Scott Walker: The First ALEC President?

Scott Walker: The First ALEC President? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Breaking: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will address ALEC's annual meeting in San Diego this July. He's an ALEC alum who has pushed ALEC's agenda into law in the state.
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Hillary Criticizes Businesses For Not Paying Interns While Her Interns Work For Free

Hillary Criticizes Businesses For Not Paying Interns While Her Interns Work For Free | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
In addition to supporting a $15 per hour minimum wage and creating a plan to “make college more affordable,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has criticized businesses that do not pay interns, while her own campaign makes its...
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A few new faces — but not many — among megadonors to presidential super PACs | OpenSecrets Blog

A few new faces — but not many — among megadonors to presidential super PACs | OpenSecrets Blog | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

The 2016 presidential race may be a whole new ball game in terms of fundraising, but most of the players’ names are awfully familiar — even if their faces are a bit more lined.

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Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Overview - Oil Change International

Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Overview - Oil Change International | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
A fossil fuel subsidy is any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers or lowers the price paid by energy consumers. Learn more and join the call to end them!
Coffee Party USA's insight:

"As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimates the total value of U.S. subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at $37.5 billion annually, including international finance.  This does not include military, health, climate, or local pollution costs.  These subsidies have increased dramatically as U.S. oil and gas production has increased."

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Jocelyn Stoller's curator insight, July 31, 2015 5:43 PM

"As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimates the total value of U.S. subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at $37.5 billion annually, including international finance.  This does not include military, health, climate, or local pollution costs.  These subsidies have increased dramatically as U.S. oil and gas production has increased."

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, August 19, 2015 10:21 AM

Oil

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Senator Lindsey Graham’s Pro-War Super PAC Bankrolled by Defense Contractors

Senator Lindsey Graham’s Pro-War Super PAC Bankrolled by Defense Contractors | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
"If I were a defense contractor, I'd be big time for Lindsey Graham, because I've been forward-leaning on rebuilding our military," Graham says.
Coffee Party USA's insight:

"As Graham tours the early primary states, he tells voters that he is running to boost U.S. defense spending. “My goal is to make sure the next president of the United States, the next generation of war fighters have the capability and capacity to do the job required to keep us free,” Graham said in South Carolina earlier this year."

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Jocelyn Stoller's curator insight, July 31, 2015 5:46 PM

"As Graham tours the early primary states, he tells voters that he is running to boost U.S. defense spending. “My goal is to make sure the next president of the United States, the next generation of war fighters have the capability and capacity to do the job required to keep us free,” Graham said in South Carolina earlier this year."

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Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an "Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery"

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an "Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery" | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
According to the former president, Americans are now experiencing "a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors."
Coffee Party USA's insight:

"United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”

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Banks revolt over plan to kill $17B Fed payout

Banks revolt over plan to kill $17B Fed payout | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Banks call a plan to cut their dividend a new tax on banks.
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William Boyer's curator insight, July 26, 2015 9:43 AM
And it's about time they paid their fair share...
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Here's who is bankrolling the top presidential candidates

Here's who is bankrolling the top presidential candidates | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Some of them are raising money in surprising places.
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Six Governors Order National Guard Members to Carry Firearms

Six Governors Order National Guard Members to Carry Firearms | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Since the shooting of military personnel at a recruiting center in Chattanooga last week, governors in half-a-dozen states have ordered members of their National Guard to arm themselves.
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#Fracking is literally killing babies in Utah, and local, state, and federal officials are helping to make that possible

#Fracking is literally killing babies in Utah, and local, state, and federal officials are helping to make that possible | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
What Paul Solotaroff's expose in Rolling Stone, "What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?" reveals is disturbing on so many levels. It's what happens when Big Money instead of We The People contr...
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Mother of Eric Garner Praises New York's Appointment of Special Prosecutor to Probe Police Killings

Mother of Eric Garner Praises New York's Appointment of Special Prosecutor to Probe Police Killings | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate police killings of unarmed civilians, making New York the first state to do so.
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The Trick of Whiteness, Historically and Today - @timjacobwise

The Trick of Whiteness, Historically and Today - @timjacobwise | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it

There was no "white" race until it was created as a trick by the elite to get poor, landless Europeans to side with them against indigenous peoples and people of color in support of chattel slavery.

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Independent Investigation Undermines Key Evidence Justifying U.S. Hostility Toward Iran

Independent Investigation Undermines Key Evidence Justifying U.S. Hostility Toward Iran | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
    A general view of the destroyed Khobar Towers on June 30, 1996. (AP / Saleh Rifai)
Interviews with more than a dozen former FBI, CIA and other administration officials found compelling evidence that the 1996 bombing of a U.S.
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Police SWAT Raid On Organic Farm After Tomato Plants Mistaken For Marijuana

Police SWAT Raid On Organic Farm After Tomato Plants Mistaken For Marijuana | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
A SWAT team composed of between 15 to 20 officers raided an organic farm, named the “Garden of Eden” and it was all because they mistook tomato plants for marijuana!
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Otieno Yusuf's curator insight, September 18, 2015 2:07 PM

How come they cannot tale the difference between marijuana and tomatoes?

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Why The Samsung SUHD JS8500 Is Unique?

Why The Samsung SUHD JS8500 Is Unique? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The technology is improving daily and is coming up with new changes and getting better each and every day. Samsung has come up with some great innovative ideas and features in their new Samsung SUH...
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Why is an obscure Montana company one of John Kasich's biggest boosters?

Why is an obscure Montana company one of John Kasich's biggest boosters? | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
One day after forming, the LLC gave $500,000 to a group backing the Ohio governor's presidential efforts.
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“Yes, We’re Corrupt”: A List of Politicians Admitting That Money Controls Politics

“Yes, We’re Corrupt”: A List of Politicians Admitting That Money Controls Politics | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
It's a relief to hear politicians acknowledge the obvious reality that all Americans see in front of their faces.
Coffee Party USA's insight:

"This pose is also popular with a certain prominent breed of pundits, who love to tell us “Don’t Follow the Money” (New York Times columnist David Brooks), or “Money does not buy elections” (Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner on public radio’s Marketplace), or “Money won’t buy you votes” (Yale Law School professor Peter H. Schuck in the Los Angeles Times)."

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Eric Holder: Return to Sender

Eric Holder: Return to Sender | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Glen Ford, Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report, says Eric Holder is returning to his "ideological home" of corporate law to defend the big banks and TPP
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My 'Democratic' Opponent is an Errand Boy for Wall Street

My 'Democratic' Opponent is an Errand Boy for Wall Street | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The Circle Game
This week marks the five-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It’s a bill that I worked on and I supported because it’s a step in the...
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Seeking Justice: Felony Murder? The Drug War Takes Center Stage and a Young Man’s Life Hangs in the Balance

Seeking Justice: Felony Murder? The Drug War Takes Center Stage and a Young Man’s Life Hangs in the Balance | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
The victim of a conspiracy con act, shot in the commission of a crime, is charged with murder and ex post facto application of the law.Read more →
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Memorials spring up after Chattanooga shootings – in pictures

Memorials spring up after Chattanooga shootings – in pictures | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
From flags to children’s toys, mourners have left tokens in memory of four marines and a navy sailor who were killed in a shooting at a US military recruiting center last week Continue reading...
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“Somebody’s Going to Own This Government. It Ought to Be Us, not Wall Street”

“Somebody’s Going to Own This Government. It Ought to Be Us, not Wall Street” | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
Below, in part two of my recent interview with Rep.
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George Washington’s Farewell Address: A ‘Warning Against the Impostures of Pretended Patriotism’

George Washington’s Farewell Address: A ‘Warning Against the Impostures of Pretended Patriotism’ | Coffee Party News | Scoop.it
On Independence Day, against official claims that mass domestic surveillance is needed to ensure U.S. security, Truthdig reprints the farewell address of the first president of the United States.
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Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, August 19, 2015 10:20 AM

George Washington Farewell Address