Jim Hightower: Christie’s trying to sack up big bucks to finance what he hopes will be a huge re-election victory this November, thus positioning him to go after the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. So he definitely has the will to take tainted money from fat-cat New Jersey contractors who’re forbidden to give it.
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.