Understandably, many Brits are a bit frustrated with the expense of the royal wedding in what are tough economic times for the country and the world. However, at least the royals over there are actually putting some money back into the economy with this big fancy wedding. Alas, the same cannot be said of the royal dynasty we are beginning to bear witness to right here in the good old US of A.
We fought for our independence for a reason, but in a relatively short period of time, have we forgotten what that reason was?
One can only wonder where we are headed upon examining two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have handed over the democracy our forefathers fought so hard for to a corporate elite class, primed to undermine the very notions of rule for and by the people.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in January 2010, which gave corporations the green light to spend as much money as they want to sway elections based on the idea that corporations should have First Amendment rights, was a turning point. Corporations are NOT people. They are entities that, more often than not, lack a moral compass. Corporations exist only to make a profit, a profit that can now be spent influencing our elections in such a way that more profit can be made. Shareholders don’t have a say regarding which politicians that corporate profit is going to go toward bankrolling and neither do the employees that, as our recent hourly rates report shows, are not nearly as likely to see the payoff of that profit as are the CEOs they work under.
Currently, President Barack Obama is facing pressure from big business to not issue an executive order calling for companies vying for government contracts to disclose their political donations. As Public Citizen Robert Weissman explains in a piece titled, “Corporate America’s War on Political Transparency:”
While government corruption comes in many forms, nowhere is it more prevalent than in government contracting. “Pay-to-play” deals are a form of government contracting abuse in which a business entity makes campaign contributions or expenditures on behalf of a public official in order to obtain preferential treatment in receiving government contracts.
It seems the executive order should be issued, but corporate royalty have objected. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a concerted effort to pressure Obama not to sign the order. And a group of senators have sent Obama a letter also opposing the order. In an odd interpretation of the concept of fairness, the opposed said they were basing their request on the desire to ensure fairness in government contracting.
But wait, it gets worse.
Now that corporations have the rights of individuals, the Supreme Court has just issued a 5-4 ruling in AT&T v. Concepcion that in essence allows corporations to use the fine print we all sign off on without reading to take away individuals right to engage in class action lawsuits. Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division Director David Arkush explains the significance of this ruling in a Huffington Post piece titled, “U.S. Supreme Court to major corporations: You Write the Rules:”
The case’s potential impact is breathtaking. Corporations can now prevent consumers and small business owners from exercising what is often their only real option for challenging companies that defraud them by millions or even billions of dollars: banding together to file class action lawsuits. The case could be equally devastating to millions of non-union employees, who need class actions to challenge systemic discrimination by their employers.
So what do you think? Ready to bow before America’s new corporate royalty? Or, are you ready to get involved in reclaiming our rights?
Sign our petition demanding government contract disclosure.
Join our “Democracy is for People” campaign on Facebook and sign up to help us push for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling.