ACLU-SC Pasadena/Foothiils Chapter forum on Getting Money Out of Politics, with Mary Beth Fiedler of Move to Amend LA and Stephen Rohde, ACLU Southern California board member — Tuesday, July 10, 7 p.m., Pasadena
Wendy Block: Here is one conglomerated guide, the result of studying the few remaining newspapers, endorsements from the LA County Democratic Party, DPSFV, the League of Women Voters, the Courage Campaign and LA Progressive; plus analysis from several progressive Dem clubs and recommendations from electeds.
Robert Reich: It’s not as if these investment fund managers are worth a $20 billion subsidy. Nonetheless they argue that if they have to pay at the normal rate they’ll be discouraged from investing in innovative companies and startups. But if such investments are worthwhile they shouldn’t need to be subsidized. Besides, in the years leading up to the crash of 2008, hedge-fund and private equity fund managers weren’t exactly models of public service. Many speculated in ways that destabilized the whole financial system.
Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.
If Washington is the place where “good ideas go to die,” as candidate Obama liked to say, then the Senate is the slaughterhouse. This white millionaires’ club where the biggest egos on Earth tell us how goddamn important they are has just screwed the middle class in this country — a middle class that is reeling after years of being beaten down by these Senators’ masters in private industry.
It is widely known that Barack Obama decided to forgo public financing for his general election campaign, while John McCain chose to accept it. This reflects Obama’s greater success in fund-raising, and it also represents an historic reversal of the traditional Republican dominance in campaign finance. Obama’s success was foreshadowed by that of Bill Clinton, [...]