And what’s Washington’s response? Nothing. In fact, Congress’s so-called “super committee” just disbanded because Republicans refuse to raise a penny of taxes on the rich.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court says money is speech and corporations are people. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year ended all limits on political spending. Millions of dollars are being funneled to politicians without a trace.
And a revolving door has developed between official Washington and Wall Street — with bank executives becoming public officials who make rules that benefit the banks before heading back to the Street to make money off the rules they created.
Other top officials, including an increasing proportion of former members of congress, are cashing in by joining lobbying power houses and pressuring their former colleagues to do whatever their clients want.
Millionaires and billionaires on Wall Street and in executive suites aren’t contributing all this money out of sheer love of country. Their political spending is analogous to their other investments. Mostly they want low tax rates and friendly regulations.
Why else do you suppose tax rates on the super rich are now lower than they’ve been in three decades, and why — even though the long-term budget deficit is horrendous — those rates aren’t rising? Why else do the 400 richest Americans (whose wealth is larger than the combined wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans) now pay an average tax rate of only 17 percent?
Why do you think Wall Street got bailed without a single string attached — not even being required to help homeowners to whom they sold mortgages, who are now so far under water they’re drowning? And why does the financial reform legislation have loopholes big enough for bankers to drive their Ferrari’s through? (more…)