By now, you’ve probably heard of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, and how this removes the limitations on political influence by the wealthy. This is absolutely terrifying!
How the ruling changes the game (From Justice Breyer’s dissent on page 15)
Before today’s decision, the total size of Rich Donor’s check to the Joint Party Committee was capped at $74,600—the aggregate limit for donations to political parties over a 2-year election cycle. After today’s decision, Rich Donor can write a single check to the Joint Party Committee in an amount of about $1.2 million.
Will political parties seek these large checks? Why not? The recipient national and state committees can spend the money to buy generic party advertisements, say television commercials or bumper stickers saying “Support Republicans,” “Support Democrats,” or the like. They also can transfer the money to party committees in battleground States to increase the chances of winning hotly contested seats.
Will party officials and candidates solicit these large contributions from wealthy donors? Absolutely. Such contributions will help increase the party’s power, as well as the candidate’s standing among his colleagues. Will elected officials be particularly grateful to the large donor, feeling obliged to provide him special access and influence, and perhaps even a quid pro quo legislative favor? That is what we have previously believed.
What does this have to do with shifting local?
Robert Reich said,
“If wealth and income weren’t already so concentrated in the hands of a few, yesterday’s shameful “McCutcheon” decision by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous. But unlimited political donations coupled with 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.”
Supporting big box stores and chains only increases the top 1% wealth, and now with the McCutcheon decision, it could very much also increase their political power!
Did you know that between 2009 and 2012 95% of all new income generated in this country went to the top 1% (which includes the Walton Family, the owners of Walmart). Did you know that top 1% in America owns 38% of the wealth in this country and the bottom 60% owns 2.3% of the wealth?
For an idea of just how much the extremely wealthy can influence politics check out this video of Senator Bernie Sanders asking a panel on whether the Waltons – family of billionaires who run Walmart and Sam’s Club – should receive government benefits such as medicaid, food stamps, and affordable housing.
Everyone in that panel except for Robert Reich is obviously “bought.” But big-box stakeholders aren’t the only ones who mistreat their employees and fight to keep minimum wage low, thus forcing their employees to rely on welfare benefits.
Stakeholders of fast food chains influence politics just as much.
Using our tax money so that their employees could survive isn’t enough for McDonalds. They have their GM’s and managers do the dirty work on their behalf: cheating their employees by forcing unpaid labor. They take advantage of having so much control in employment opportunities that they will cheat anyone and everyone so that they could keep maximizing profits.
The majority stakeholders of these big-box retailers and national fast food chains no longer have to be afraid of backlash. They’ve hoarded so much cash, and have so much influence on politics that even if all their employees organize strikes, we’re starting to feel like nothing will ever bring them down.
What else can we do?