Money buys a lot of politicians and voters suffer

COMMON SENSE SAYS: When dissatisfaction with functioning of democracy is linked to concerns about the economy, the pandemic, and social divisions it’s time for changes. Money has become the driving force in politics and it’s turning off voters.

According to Pew Internet “even in places where the demand for significant political reform is relatively low, substantial minorities say their system needs minor changes. In all of the public surveyed, fewer than three-in-ten say the political system should not be changed at all. In other words, politics is broken.

Here are some examples:

1ne: Taxes on the wealthy and big corporations — 68% support raising taxes on wealthy Americans and 62% say the same for raising the corporate tax rate. 58% of voters say they back the Democratic tax plan yet both parties are fighting these measures. This week, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, who has an estimated net worth of $288.6 billion, voiced his opposition to Democrats’ billionaire tax — while simultaneously breaking the record for wealth an individual has accumulated in one day. Musk gained enough money on Monday to cover the next three and a half years of his share of the billionaire tax, with over a billion dollars to spare.

2wo: Lower prescription drug prices — Many Democrats in Congress ran on a promise to lower prescription drug prices, and their big social policy bill may offer their best chance to do it. As they struggle toward an overall agreement this week, lawmakers are sparring over policies that would lower the prices drug companies could charge for drugs. However, the measure is almost dead due to big pharma showering politicians with money. Although Republicans, as a whole oppose lower drug prices, it’s the Democrats who are fighting this measure that could save us billions. Senator Menendez from New Jersey and the supposed democratic Senator for Arizona are fighting lower drug prices.

3hree: Protecting income at the cost of the environment — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s long-standing financial ties to the coal industry are facing fresh scrutiny following his opposition to key elements of a sweeping climate and economic package that Democrats are scrambling to reach a deal on this week. Manchin, whose vote is crucial to passage of President Joe Biden’s domestic policy priorities in an evenly divided 50–50 Senate, has holdings valued at between $1 million and $5 million in Enersystems, Inc., the coal brokerage business he founded, according to his most recent financial disclosure form that covers 2020 activity. And last year, he made more than $491,000 from his Enersystems holdings, the filings show. That’s more than twice his $174,000 annual Senate salary.

Republicans are quick to jump on inflation and higher oil prices but although the U.S. economy has real problems, and inflation is certainly one of them, America is enjoying an exceptionally swift economic recovery, rising household wealth, falling income inequality, a resurgence in labor’s economic power, and soaring capital investment. In these respects, Bidenomics has proved to be a smashing success.

Politicians are supposed to represent voters but they too often represent big money corporations. Voters want lower drug prices and more taxes on the wealthy and huge corporations but money buys a lot of politicians.

Originally published at https://commonsenseandpolitics.com on October 28, 2021.