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.
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/