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January 24th

The right for corporations to waste their money on politics.

I tried to condense my position into a twitter post. That didn’t work, so here goes the long version.

For some people, the ruling in Citizen United vs. FEC means the beginning of corporate domination of politics. The beginning? Was corporate money in politics not an issue at one point?

One of the biggest mistake many people and our elected legislators make is believe that their intentions matter. Like the current heathcare reform, the intention is to cover every American’s health insurance, even though it won’t and it explicitly bars illegal immigrants access. It’s the thought that counts.

Same deal with Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The intent is to cap the amount an individual or corporation can contribute to a political candidate and party organizations and prevent corporations and other organizations from “electioneering”. Awesome. That’s exactly what will happen because I believe.

Thanks to BCRA, the money spent on presidential campaigns went from in 2000 $343 million to in 2008… $1.32… billion. Pat yourself on the back McCain & Feingold.

Waste of money in my opinion, as each additional vote became exponentially more expensive as a result. Still, as a libertarian, even intentions contrasting outcome does not bother me. For me, process matters.

What process deems a corporation like ExxonMobil to have less right to free than a corporation like the New York Times? But NYTimes is the press and they have freedom of the press. Clever, so what process determines that NYTimes is the press and ExxonMobil not the press? Whereas the NYTimes editorial board condemned the ruling on Citizens United, shouldn’t ExxonMobil have the right broadcast how they feel about Citizens United? What if they published a book on their position, is that a punishable offense? Rights matter, and they apply to all persons in America, including AIG executives and Pharmaceutical Reps, Teachers Union members, Non-profit founders… etc.

No, corporations are not persons despite legal president to the contrary, but its owners and operators are. So do New York Times journalists have the right to speech while ExxonMobile executives do not?

I believe there is none, which is why the Supreme Court ruled Citizens United accordingly.

As for the outcome of this ruling? If the passage of BCRA was any indication, nothing that would change anything. I hope, rather than spend large amounts of money secretly, this would allow more transparency in the process. And I doubt corporations can convince Americans to vote for a certain Senator as well as getting your fat ass to McDonalds. Others see corporate takeover of democracy, I see a massive waste of money that will make corporations look like Martha Coakley in Yankees garb.

In short, a victory for free speech,

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