Two pieces of stunning news this morning:
Goldman Sachs reported record 2009 profits of $13.4 billion
The U.S. Supreme Court says corporations now have unlimited rights to influence elections.
Let’s see – unimaginable profits plus unrestricted ability to spend on elections. I wonder how that’ll turn out?
Here’s what the court said: “That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt. And the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.” Our course not. Why would they?
Because a key Senate leader said (even before this) that the banks "own the place?” Nah.
Because even without this ruling the financial industry spent $344 million in lobbying from Jan-Sept. 2009? Nah.
Given the activist bent of the right wing majority on the Court, we can only expect worse to follow. And, of course, this won’t affect state elections here in Oregon because we’re one of the few states that have no restrictions. We do, though, at least in Portland, have a public financing system that allows candidates without the backing of big money to run for office – and Public Campaign and Common Cause are championing a bill to implement such a system nationally (the Fair Elections Act).
As well, national groups are pushing a bill that would require a shareholder vote on corporate political expenditures.
So – how’s your faith doing?
Obama proposes new limits on big bank risky trading
Commercial banks could be prohibited from owning hedge funds, buyout shops
New report just out today: Financial Sector Investments In Congress and the Senate Banking Committee