Every Tea Partier who fears that President Obama is stealing your individual liberties should now realize that their liberties have already been stolen by the conservative justices on the Supreme Court. There was once a conversation about weighing the interests of Wall Street vs. those of Main Street, well guess what? Main Street no longer exists.
The Supreme Court, citing free speech, argued that corporations and unions can spend their own funds, and not just contributions from employees for political action committees. The court also removed restrictions on the timing and content of independent campaign advocacy initiatives. This ruling was arguably the most un-American and destructive decision in recent US history.
With its 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court also preemptively killed the campaign of the next Barack Obama. They’ve opened the door for monopolies and oligopolies. They’ve brightened the eyes of every would-be robber baron who fondly reflects on the early 20th century when civil liberties didn’t get in the way of economic power. You’re going to be convinced that the corporations are supporting politicians who will protect your interests. What you won’t know is that they’re going to be silently robbing you of your liberty behind closed doors.
The Supreme Court has weakened the knees of politicians who are already manipulated heavily by corporate America. No elected official in his or her right mind is going to support any initiative that votes against corporate interests. America just took a double dose of Capitalism 101, and as a professor of finance, I seriously wonder if our nation understands how unfettered capitalism will ultimately destroy a society.
You can expect the wealth gap to grow, and for the bulk of America’s economic power to be controlled by a smaller number of people. Our nation will be run as if George Bush were our president all the time, and America will soon become “The United States of Wal-Mart.” Politicians will undermine labor rights, and taxes for the wealthy are going to drop. America will be run like a household where the children tell their parents what everyone is going to eat for dinner-and that meal is going to be unhealthy.
The primary problem with having too many capitalist interests impacting democracy is that the beast of capitalism doesn’t care about people. It doesn’t care about the poor, since it’s more profitable to simply strip their labor rights and enslave them. It doesn’t care about taking care of the elderly, since the bottom line is enhanced by simply allowing them to die. It doesn’t care about predatory lending, the environment, protecting the Constitution or anything else that might get in the way of making another dollar. By unleashing the beast of capitalism and giving it unfettered access to our Democratic institutions, the Supreme Court may have been invoking a recipe for our nation’s political suicide.
Perhaps Congress will step in and respond to the ruling as soon as possible. It could require corporations to get shareholder approval before engaging in massive spending campaigns or it could require even more public revelation of corporate political spending. But that’s probably not going to happen, do you know why? Because any multi-billion dollar corporation that gets attacked by a politician has the power to remove that politician from office.
Houston, we have a problem.