“What power has law where only money rules?” —Petronius, 66 AD
From Economist’s View, to break the lock that big money has on politics:
• “Political corruption in America is staggering.”
• “Powerful forces, many of which operate anonymously under US law, are working relentlessly to defend those at the top of the income distribution.”
• “The Republican Party’s real game is to try to lock that income and wealth advantage into place.”
With help from golfing buddies in elected office, over the last 25 years more than 90 percent of the total growth in income went to the top 10 percent.
Only 9 percent of income growth is divvied up among the lower 90 percent.
About 25 percent of the newly elected Republicans are millionaires. 261 members of Congress are millionaires, and 55 are worth more than $10 million. Wealth in the Senate grew 16 percent, from $2.27 million to $2.38 million in 2008 alone.
In 1973, the average U.S. CEO was paid $27 for every dollar paid to a typical worker. Three years ago, the ratio had ballooned to $275 to $1.
“The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes.’” —Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter 50 years ago.
America’s economic future depends upon restarting an engine of innovation and technological growth.
Corporate America has come to believe that investments in influencing Washington pay more than investments in building a better mousetrap.
That will only change when regulation is crafted as narrowly as possible. Only then can regulators serve the public good, instead of private protection.
We need to kill a philosophy of regulation born with the 20th century, if we’re to make possible a world of innovation in the 21st.