Look Who’s Buying American Democracy

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According to an investigation by the New York Times, half of all the money contributed so far to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates—$176 million—has come from just 158 families, along with the companies they own or control.

Who are these people? They’re almost entirely white, rich, older and male—even though America is becoming increasingly black and brown, young, female, and with declining household incomes.

According to the report, most of these big contributors live in exclusive neighborhoods where they have private security guards instead of public police officers, private health facilities rather than public parks and pools.

Most send their kids and grand kids to elite private schools rather than public schools. They fly in private jets and get driven in private limousines rather than rely on public transportation.

They don’t have to worry about whether Social Security or Medicare will be there for them in their retirement because they’ve put away huge fortunes. They don’t have to worry about climate change because they don’t live in flimsy homes that might collapse in a hurricane, or where water is scarce, or food supplies endangered.

It’s doubtful that most of these 158 are contributing to these campaigns out of the goodness of their hearts or a sense of public responsibility. They’re largely making investments, just the way they make other investments.

And the success of these investments depends on whether their candidates get elected, and will lower their taxes even further, expand tax loopholes, shred health and safety and environmental regulations so their companies can make even more money, and cut Social Security and Medicare and programs for the poor—and thereby allow these 158 and others like them to secede even more from the rest of our society.

These people are, after all, are living in their own separate society, and they want to elect people who will represent them, not the rest of us.

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Calvin T. 4 years ago Member's comment

Interesting but no a good idea! There should be reasonable term limits, however. Senators, Representatives and Supreme Court Justices need to be limited in reasonable ways. US presidents should also not get income for life and those expensive benefits that most of them do not deserve and do not need! Big things need to be done, but the people who have the power to do those will not do it. Good luck to the others in this country that claims to have liberty and justice for ALL. Bring it on!\

Stephen Rios 4 years ago Member's comment

if you don't think that immigration is a problem come to Puerto Rico where the Dominicans have taking almost all the small businesses, its almost all Dominicans all over the place our traditions are hardly heard its now bachata and merengue, they have a strong pull in our government and you can't say anything because your treated as a racists that's our isla del encanto which is now isla del quisqueya

and this is something our cheating politicians will deny, because they are selling our nation out like our jobs lets take back our jobs and nation

Stephen Rios 4 years ago Member's comment

if you don't think immigration doesn't hurt your nation come to Puerto Rico where the Dominicans have taking almost all the local businesses our tradition are hardly heard any more and they have a powerful pull in our government i call the island now la Isla del Quisqueya

David Scott 4 years ago Member's comment

Well, Mr. Reich, since all this money from the 158 families is pouring onto the coffers of Hillary and Jeb and so on, you should be promoting Donald Trump as president, since he has taken no money from super pacs and does accept donations from people, and does not appear in the least to be asking for big donations.

JohnF 4 years ago Member's comment

EVERY elected office at EVERY level of government should be for a single term. Unfortunately this won't happen because the career politicians don't want to do real jobs.

Stephen Rios 4 years ago Member's comment

very true

Charlie Feather 4 years ago Member's comment

Let us hope that gets us the best politicians that money can buy.

Ahmednazmy Habel 4 years ago Member's comment

It's a real problem.

Ivan Rehn Hall 4 years ago Member's comment

The problem is the integrity of Politicians...