With the election over, pundits and other race watchers are attempting to write the final word on the most expensive, secret, and billionaire-friendly election in history. Many are starting to take the position that in the end, the $6 billion in spending didn’t matter much because swing states voters got so saturated with ads that they tuned out. If the balance of power doesn’t change, some are even saying, that tsunami of spending will have been for naught.
These folks are missing the point. In the game of high-dollar financing of political campaigns, it’s not about the spending—it’s about the giving. No matter how a campaign spends the check written by a millionaire donor, that millionaire donor has purchased exactly what he or she wanted: influence.
Congress returns from a two-week recess today. But for legislators who spent the time championing the House Republicans' extreme agenda to slash federal spending, the break was more like detention. Town hall meetings across the country erupted into bedlam as members came face-to-face with the actual beneficiaries of public spending on health care, retirement, college, food supports, and more.
As I lament just how few deductions I can take to move that digital Turbo Tax counter up toward a fat green refund, I have to consider what it'd be like if, instead of corporations being people, people like me were corporations. Because then, as my colleague at Demos David Callahan writes today, I'd be sitting pretty in "Loophole Land" instead of toiling over here in "W-2 Ville".
But then again, there’d be the EPA and the Clean Water Act to thank for the waterways; local officials to thank for the zoning; federal transportation dollars to thank for the roads driven to enter the course ...