Directly Destroying Democracy
Christie won and almost immediately after taking office began investing New Jersey public employee retiree money on Wall Street, with of course Paul Singer’s hedge fund. A former trustee for another state retirement system estimated for The Nation magazine that Singer’s fund collected $8.6 million in fees from the New Jersey investments – for one year, 2013. That year, Singer gave $1.2 million to the Republican Governors Association, which by then, Christie chaired.
That’s good for Christie, a potential presidential candidate, of course. The same can’t be said for New Jersey workers and retirees. With an unusually large portion of the state retiree money in the hands of hedge funds by 2013, New Jersey’s return, at 11.79 percent, was significantly lower than the median return on pensions that year of 16.1 percent.
The right-wingers on the Supreme Court are expected to rule any day in another case, McCutcheon, that would further empower the wealthy to buy the political process.
Right now, there’s a limit on the aggregate amount a person or corporation can contribute directly to candidates during a two-year election cycle. The right wing justices are expected to eliminate that cap.
It’s $123,200. The average American doesn’t make that much money in two years.
So, it’s no wonder that politicians don’t do what average Americans want. Significant majorities of average Americans think Congress should raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance, lower income inequality and provide a path to citizenship for immigrants. But these are not the priorities of the 1 percent or of corporations. And, naturally, they are not the priorities of the politicians who owe their victories to buckets of cash from the 1 percent and corporations.
The rich can buy more of everything. More food. More cars. More houses. More vacations. More boats. But for a democracy to function properly, they should be forbidden from buying more votes.