Posted August 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm, in From the USW International President
The U.S. Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. What this nation needs now is separation of wealth and state.
Without such a protection, Americans stand to lose their democracy. They’ll be ruled instead by an aristocracy of 1 percenters.
That’s the 1 percenters’ plan. To them, it was no more than a perk when the U.S. Supreme Court enabled politicians to open their wallets for unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions. That’s because way before the 2010 Citizens United ruling, 1 percenters were working on a takeover. If the 99 percent don’t stop them soon, don’t establish some sort of separation of wealth and state, then the nation will lose its founding precepts — that all men are created equal and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Aristocracies can ignore the governed.
Already the 1 percenters have been extraordinarily successful. The rich really do enjoy advantages. They’ve succeeded in stuffing Congress with their peers. In America, fewer than 1 percent of all people are millionaires. In Congress, 47 percent are. The median net worth of a U.S. senator in 2010 was $2.56 million.
Those guys haven’t experienced what it’s like to try to pay a mortgage, fix the car and keep food on the table for the average household with a median income of less than $52,000. They’re completely out of touch with the 50 million Americans who don’t have health insurance.
In addition, the 1 percenters implemented a system to influence even those lawmakers who are not millionaires. It’s called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Corporations and the rich, like the billionaire Koch brothers, give ALEC money, which it uses to write “model” legislation, like voter suppression laws. ALEC’s lawmaker members, mostly conservative Republicans, pay dues of $50 a year. ALEC entices them to attend swanky conferences with freebies, like ALEC-paid hotel rooms, ALEC-paid plane rides and God knows what else ALEC-paid. Of course, those aren’t bribes. But the free vacations may incline lawmaker members to introduce ALEC-written legislation.
ALEC is sly. It doesn’t come right out and say its “model” voter identification laws are intended to suppress balloting by Democrats. ALEC contends they’re designed to prevent voter fraud. Within the past two years, 10 states passed these laws.
But in-person voter fraud, the kind these identification laws are supposedly intended to prevent, barely exists. In the dozen years since 2000, only 10 cases occurred in the entire United States, according to a study funded by the Carnegie and Knight foundations. (more…)