JIM HIGHTOWER: Thirty bucks to take on the billionaires
For today’s report, I have a bunch of statistics for you.
Where are you going? Come back here and sit still while I drill these stats into your head!
I realize that numbers can numb the brain, but this is a good story, and I promise that these statistics are easy to absorb. In fact, the number 400 pretty much sums it up.
It’s a story of political intrigue and corruption involving some of America’s wealthiest families and corporations.
Start with the “Billionaire 400,” a clique of the elite organized by the conniving Koch brothers. These ultra-rich right-wingers gather each winter in some warm weather resort for a secretive, invitation-only retreat.
There, they plot strategies and pledge money for electing politicos who support their vision of corporate rule in America. For the 2016 elections, their network has already committed nearly a billion dollars to impose its vision of plutocracy over our democratic ideals — more than double the combined amount the Republican and Democratic parties spent in 2012.
Then there are the secretive SuperPACs that are sacking up tens of millions of dollars to back various presidential candidates. Again, a mere 400 corporations and rich families — each writing checks for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars — have put up nearly half of all the money in these electioneering committees.
But now, here comes the antidote to this corruption of our politics by fat cats. Instead of being financed by 400 billionaires bent on their special interests, Bernie Sanders’ White House bid has raised its $15 million from 400,000 ordinary Americans. In fact, the average donation to the Vermont senator is a heartwarming, soul-saving $33.51!
You can’t buy a president for 30 bucks — but you can help elect one who isn’t owned by Big Money. Isn’t that the way it ought to be?
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org.