The naked truth has been exposed, and it’s not a pretty picture! American Democracy has become Dollar Democracy. Many elected officials are bought by campaign contributions from superrich individuals and big corporations. During the 2012 election season, Presidential and Congressional candidates and their supporters raised and spent over $6.2 billion. The bulk came from the wealthiest one-half of 1% of the U.S. population. As Will Rogers quipped, “America has the best politicians money can buy.”
Superrich individuals and lobbyists hired by corporations can walk into the offices of lawmakers to whom they donated and ask for favors, such as championing huge tax cuts, tax loopholes, subsidies and deregulation. As a result, our politicians often give their benefactors what they want and deny America’s middle class and poor an equal opportunity to have their needs met: universal healthcare, more high-paying jobs, funding for small business growth to stimulate economic recovery, research and development of new technologies, world-class public schools, after-school programs and afford – able college tuition.
Bought lawmakers have created corporate tax loopholes at the state and federal levels, such as the stock-option tax loophole, offshoring tax loophole and oil-severance tax loophole. These have been used by Facebook, Apple and Chevron, among others, to legally avoid millions and billions in taxes while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate “welfare” from the government. Bought lawmakers have also cut taxes overwhelmingly for the super wealthy, many of whom are their foremost campaign donors.
In my new book Dollar Democracy: With Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All, you’ll find out how millions of typical Americans were victimized by Dollar Democracy through no fault of their own. While the superrich and corporations got the gold mine, the majority of Americans got the shaft. Because most politicians have sided with their wealthy donors, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is disappearing. Here are some of the outrageous manifestations of Dollar Democracy:
•Our country’s 400 richest people (or families) have the same aggregate net worth as 150 million ordinary Americans—half the population!
•The ratio of the average CEO’s salary to the average worker’s salary is 331 to 1, up from 40 to 1 in 1980.