In America Today, Money is Power, People are Powerless
The Power of Money
There is an old saying that money makes the world go around. This seems more true now than ever.
In America today it is becoming increasingly clear that Congress consistently works to benefit the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else.
The reason for this seems clear. Only the wealthy can afford to hire lobbyists to influence Congress. There is nobody to lobby Congress on behalf of you and me.
Those Without Money Have No Power
Environmental groups, for example, don’t have much influence over Congress because they don't have much money. There just isn't a lot of money in protecting the environment. However, there are billions of dollars to be made by industries that pollute and destroy the environment and those industries do spend large sums of money for lobbyists, campaign contributions, and public relations in order to get Congress to let them maximize their profits without regard to protecting the environment or the health, safety and welfare of the American people.
But there just isn't a lot of money to be made from protecting our health, our safety and our environment. There are no large sums of money to influence Congress on our behalf. So the Big industries win and we lose.
With Enough Money, You Can Kill Even The Most Popular Ideas
There are a lot of people who believe that our health care system should include a public option – a voluntary, non-profit health insurance program supported entirely by the premiums of people who choose to be a part of the program. Polls indicate that as many as 70% of the American people think there should be such a public option.
But despite its popularity, the public option was defeated in Congress because the insurance industry felt threatened by such a program. People's insurance premiums would go toward actual health care and not the multi-billion dollar profits of insurance companies. So they spend millions upon millions of dollars lobbying Congress to oppose the public option and more millions of dollars in campaign contributions to influence Congress and kill the public option.
Nobody is Spending Millions Lobbying on Your Behalf
While millions of dollars are spent lobbying Congress and contributing to political campaigns in order to benefit huge corporations, virtually nothing is spent on behalf of the millions of Americans who support the public option. So the big insurance companies won and the American people lost.
Exxon/Mobil is one of the most profitable companies in U.S. history. They make around $50 billion a year. Yet you almost certainly paid more in taxes than Exxon/Mobil in 2009 because Exxon/Mobil paid ZERO dollars in taxes.That's because they spend millions on lobbyists and campaign contributions and you don't.
It Gets Worse
The sad fact is, the more lobbyists a company hires and the more PAC money they contribute to members of Congress, the less they pay in taxes.
And none of this will ever change until we pass some kind of campaign finance reform to limit the influence that corporations have over Congress.
But the influence of money is not limited to lobbying Congress and making big campaign contributions. Now big corporations are buying up all of our TV and radio stations and networks.
How Did We Get To This Point?
There was a time when one company could not own more than one TV or radio station in a given market. A single company was limited in how much control it had in what we see and hear in the media. Most TV and radio stations were locally owned by small companies and there were laws that said they had to present objective news and offer differing viewpoints on political issues. But that all has changed in recent years.
The Very Rich Control Everything You See and Hear
Just a few large corporations own almost all the TV and radio stations in the country. Only a few corporations own the cable TV networks, the major broadcast networks and even the internet service providers.
So now, instead of a large diversity of owners of all the radio and TV stations and networks, all that power over what we see and hear in the media is concentrated in the hands of very few people and they can spoon feed you what they want you to hear.
If they want you to hear viewpoints that predominantly benefit the large corporations, then that is what you will hear. They will tell you that anything that might take power away from the corporations is a “forced redistribution of wealth” or “class warfare” and if you hear it often enough, you might believe it. This is how they get you to vote against your own best interests.
Here's the Bottom Line
So again, the corporations win and the American people lose.
Corporations are not people. They exist to benefit people, not the other way around. We all want corporations to be profitable, but not to have more rights and more power than human beings.
More importantly, Congress should not be working for the highest bidder. We need laws to take money out of our political system.