Wealthy elites—not voter majorities—determine congressional decisions
By Glen Anderson
We want peace, but big corporations pay politicians to wage endless wars.
We want economic justice, but big corporations pay politicians to oppose workers’ rights.
We want to protect the environment and climate, but big corporations pay politicians to prevent progress.
In case after case and sector after sector, the American people are far ahead of our government. But multi-millionaires and corporations finance the election campaigns of politicians to squelch the public interest and make the rich even richer.
We will not make much progress on any big issues—peace, environment/climate, economic justice, etc.—until we stop the legalized bribery that corrupts government and prevents real democracy. We must fix our election financing system in order to make progress on our most important issues.
Indeed, a recent study from Princeton University concluded that American democracy has not existed for several decades, because wealthy elites and organized business groups actually determine what Congress does and does not do, regardless of majority public opinion and citizen-based organizations. This power dominates both big political parties. The problem goes back two decades before Citizens United made it even worse. Researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page used data from about 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002.
In an interview with www.talkingpointsmemo.com, researcher Gilens summarized the findings in this way:
Contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government policy-making over the last few decades reflects the preferences of those groups—of economic elites and of organized interests.
Read the entire 18-page article at www.tinyurl.com/khjqxkx
www.represent.us, a non-profit organization promoting grassroots democracy, produced a video that explains in less than six minutes this bipartisan corruption of Congress and why rich businesses and rich individuals run the show. Watch the short, easy-to-understand video at www.tinyurl.com/lnd7dyx This organization proposes passing “Anti-Corruption Acts” all across our nation, starting at local and state levels. See www.tinyurl.com/khhp96g
Excellent non-profit organizations at the national level are working to reform our corrupt election financing system. In Washington State, www.WAmend.org is working hard to urge our state’s members of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to take big money out of politics. This group is collecting signatures statewide for Initiative 735, a citizen initiative to the 2016 legislature for this purpose. The 2016 legislature would likely fail to adopt it, so it would go onto the November 2016 ballot. I-735 calls for a U.S. constitutional amendment specifying that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations—and that spending money is not a form of constitutionally-protected free speech.