"Well doctor, what have we got- A Republic or a Monarchy?"
"A Republic, if you can keep it"
-Benjamin Franklin, 1787.
The above mentioned Republic is, for all intents and purposes, finished. It was done with the flick of a pen by your supreme court last month. For anyone not aware, the determination was made that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to support political candidates in their run for office.
The fallacy of this should be obvious to a five year old. The most profitable and powerful corporations on the planet can now buy the politician of their choice and pretty much guarantee that they'll get into office. There's a direct correlation between a candidate's campaign coffers and how well they do in an election.
Once in a blue moon a little guy who's vastly underfunded (which usually means an independent) wins but in the long run this is a statistical anomaly, much like the numbers behind a casino.
It's no secret that all politicians are ultimately bought and paid for, that's why there's over 30,000 lobbyists on capital hill. But now, the gloves have come off. Let's look at what this portends for the future.
Over the last two years ExxonMobil's profits were 85 billion. Not revenue, profit, so after all their expenses and operating costs were covered they literally had 85 billion sitting in the bank and wondering what to spend it on. In the same two year period, total spending on the 2008 federal election (including 2007), from all sources was 5.2 billion. Emphasis on all-sources. That covers all the donations to democrats, republicans, independents coming from literally millions of private citizens, corporations and special interest groups.
If ExxonMobil wanted it badly enough, this single company could choose to spend 12 percent of their annual profit on the party (or even single candidate) of their choice and in doing so equal or outspend ALL campaign contributions to all parties and candidates in years previous. If a single company were to provide 5 billion dollars in funding to a president who got into office, how likely would that president be to support legislation that may be in the interest of the people but would hurt Exxon's bottom line? He wouldn't, because that would literally be career suicide.
Of course this is a ridiculous scenario. I highly doubt that Exxon would spend 5 billion on a single candidate, but what if Exxon, General Electric, Pfizer and a couple other heavyweights decided to each kick in 1 billion dollars each to the same canditate or party? For Exxon that would be a paltry 2 percent of their profits, going to ensure that they'd get a candidate who would never fuck with them on emissions, environmental legislation or a multitude of other measures that would be beneficial for the nation but harmful to the company (maybe there might be a little added pressure from higher up on the golf course for a certain judge to take a harder line on a lawsuit regarding a little ol' oil spill a while back)
What if AT&T kicked in 500 million in contributions? Would Washington dare to bite the hand that feeds them and enact tougher requirements on the company for net neutrality and minimum service levels for customer's broadband?
What if General Dynamics and a handful of other major defence contractors threw together a cool one or two billion to throw to the "hawk" candidate of their choice? Never mind the pure comedy of taxpayer dollars flowing from public coffers to private hands, then back to individual politicians to ensure that the public money would keep flowing or even increase. What if these contractors were producing lemmon weapons systems.... years behind schedule, massively over-budget, massively-over complicated and therefore breaking down far too easily in the field, and ultimately under-performing on a real battlefield? Would those contracts and defence appropriations get canceled if it would mean the loss of billions in campaign finance? I think not.
I hope you get the picture. But it's not all bad though. The farce is just beginning, as we all know what happens once a corporation feels they own someone or something for shelling out big wads of cash..... branding!
Just picture it- a session of congress will be almost indistinguishable from NASCAR, what with the TIDE and VIAGRA logos that will be plastered all over the company-approved outfit the politician will have to contractually wear (in exchange of course for a boat-load of money)
And of course, we can't miss out the re-naming of buildings that have been bought by corporate money;
"The President will be making a special address to the nation tonight, live from the Exxon-White House..."