The New CorporatocracyWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope I never hear another so-called conservative talking head start spouting drivel about “liberal” activist judges. After the recent Supreme Court ruling, any scintilla of credibility they ever professed to have on the subject is shot to hell. Talk about legislating from the bench! Evidently, it’s the Constitution be damned, welcome to the New Corporatocracy.
The Roberts Court has set a new standard for hypocrisy. This is the guy who said during his confirmation hearings that judges were like umpires. It was not their job to make law, but to interpret it, while paying close attention to precedent. They then took a narrowly focused case and used it to overturn more than 100 years of precedents in campaign finance law and to declare that corporations have the same rights that individual citizens have.
So much for any credibility the five justices who were in the majority ever had. Of course, this was accompanied by the usual blathering about how this was what the Founding Fathers had envisioned.
Now let’s take a look at what these so called jurists have wrought. With this decision, they have opened up the corporate coffers to influence, nay completely control election outcomes. I’m sure some of you are saying, “But unions can do the same, and you’re a union member, so why aren’t you pleased with this ruling?” Unions do not have near the money to spend on elections that the corporate interests have. Traditionally, unions have been outspent by 10 to 15 times by business interests under the old rules, and are pretty much tapped out with available funds. By contrast, the Fortune 100 spends a fraction of 1 percent of its $605 billion in profits to buy politicians, according to Jonathan Alter in the latest issue of Newsweek.
Simply put, the New Corporatocracy has the ability to buy up all the advertising time in any race, be it state, local, or federal, judicial or nonjudicial, anywhere in the country. Then, presumably with a straight face, they claim that this will help stop corruption in politics! They don’t even have to target every race, they can just make examples of a couple of politicians and the others will fall in line. The paltry amount of cash that working men and women have as disposable income to donate to candidates or causes will be completely ineffective against these monetary juggernauts. Hate your big banks? Too bad! They’ll have the best politicians money can buy. Mad at the oil companies? You’re nuts if you think any politician is going to stand up for your concerns against the pressure they can bring to bear. Insurance companies? The trough is open, and we’ll be at their mercy. Reform will come to mean anything that increases the bottom line of any special interest. Corporate governance is here. A government of the company, by the company, and for the company.
What do you really think our founding fathers intended? Were these newfound corporate rights simply an oversight? That’s what the Supreme Court would like you to believe.
Thomas Jefferson had a quote that the five Supreme Court justices overlooked or willfully ignored in their zeal to grant the New Corporatocracy control of our government. He said; “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (the banks) will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent that their fathers conquered.” And Jefferson, I’m sure, never even heard of a derivative or a hedge fund. I wonder what he’d think today of our “too big to fail” banks. It doesn’t matter. Now the banks will have the ability to effect elections so no meaningful reform of any kind will ever see the light of day.
Lastly is the impact on what you’re going to be seeing near election time. If you think there are too many ads on now, wait until you see what’s coming soon to your living room. Negative ads will rule the airways, probably 24/7.
The only way I see out of this mess is to institute something I’ve advocated previously: public financing of elections. If we’re going to keep our voices heard, we need to take the money out of politics, not flood it with corporate cash.
E-mail columnist Don Burnard at email@example.com.
Tags: Supreme Court