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Open Left

If You Think Corporations Run The Government Now…

by
Chris Bowers

Then just wait and see what happens after, as expected, the Supreme Court allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of their favored candidates:

The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday it may let businesses and unions spend freely to help their favored candidates in time for next year's elections. Such a step could roll back a century of attempts to restrain the power of corporate treasuries in American politics.

The justices cut short their summer recess for a lively special argument that indicated the court's conservative skeptics of campaign finance laws have the upper hand over its liberals, including new Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the high court's swing vote, but a firm opponent of many campaign restrictions, at one point told the government's lawyer, "Corporations have lots of knowledge about environment, transportation issues, and you are silencing them during the election."

To a certain extent, it is hard to even conceptualize why this matters. To paraphrase Dick Durbin, powerful moneyed interests already run the government.  From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, check out the gains made by of wealthy interests over the past 30-35 years:

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There are the glorious results of bi-partisan, moderate-approved economic policy for you.

Through vast lobbying, astroturf, media and legal efforts that dwarf anything progressives have created, powerful moneyed interests in this country have been able largely to control legislation even after 30-year peak in Democratic electoral success.  A ruling like this will simply be the icing on the cake.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Chris Bowers is a founding member of OpenLeft.com

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