Whoever wins the election in November will have spent over a billion dollars to get there. On the day a President wakes up after being elected, he or she will have to raise an average of $850,000 every day of that first term to get re-elected. P Sainath writes:
Being hostage to money power is no myth. As Dave Lindorff points out in CounterPunch, the biggest contributors to the Obama campaign in 2008 were mostly financial companies. Apart from other big corporations. These included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup, who gave him close to $2.5 million via Political Action Committees (PACs).

Another $1.5 million came from two more big banks, “UBS and Morgan Stanley, as well as General Electric, which less than a year later bought a bank.” GE did that in order to gorge on the government’s “bailout” with billions of “rescue” dollars from public money.

Mr. Obama repaid those debts, Mr. Lindorff points out. Among other things, he made Tim Geithner his Treasury Secretary. Mr. Geithner, as head of the New York Federal Reserve branch during the Bush era, “had ignored the derivatives scandals that brought on the financial crash.” Mr. Obama also made Lawrence Summers his top economic adviser. The same Summers who “as Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, had pushed for the deregulation of derivatives, and for allowing banks to merge with investment banks.” There were other such jobs for the boys, too. Yet, this time around, Mr. Romney has collected more Wall Street money than Mr. Obama.

Perhaps that is why, in the Presidential debates, neither candidate mentioned the real problems that confront our economy such as the disappearing middle class, or the crimes of Wall Street. After all, to address the crimes of corporate America would close the only door that gives access to power. Again, Sainath reports:
Compensation on Wall Street rose by four per cent last year to $60 billion, says the New York Times. Higher than in any year except 2007 and 2008. And “the average pay packet of securities industry employees in New York state was $362,950, up 16.6 % over the last two years.” Meanwhile, about 25 million people who want full-time jobs can’t find them. The number of those on food stamps is at record levels. And 50 million people suffer food insecurity in a nation where, as economist Paul Buchheit points out: “The 10 richest Americans made enough money last year to feed every hungry person on earth for a year.”


“The best democracy money can buy” is no longer a joke, it is the central fact of modern politics in the United States. Our situation is not hopeless, but time is not on our side. “We the People” have less power as every day that the hostile corporate takeover of our nation goes unchallenged. Joining in grassroots efforts for campaign finance reform, joining in efforts to overturn Citizen’s United, getting involved in local politics where we still have some control and building political alternatives outside the current system are realistic ways we can make sure our democratic principles are not for sale to the highest bidder.

To read full Sainath article, click here:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/19/follow-the-money-find-the-leader/