MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
omnibus spending bill passed by the House on December 12 - and likely to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president by Monday evening.This holiday will bring an odious package of gifts in the form of the
On the eve of a season of that we commercialize as one of celebrating peace, love and compassion, it looks like Congress and the White House are going to dole out bounties to the oligarchy, financial industry and right wing of the GOP.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has received coverage for her defiant stand against a clause in the bill that rolls back restrictions on the online casino derivative trading that was a large contributing factor in the near collapse of the US economy in 2008. This particular feature of the legislation is discussed in an article from PR Watch posted on Truthout, "Congress to Reinstate Taxpayer Subsidies for Reckless Derivatives Trading."
In fact, the Washington Post quotes Warren as calling the trillion dollar bill “the worst of government for the rich and powerful.”
A vote for this bill is a vote for future taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street. Why in the last minute as you head out the door and a spending bill must be passed are you making it a priority to do Wall Street’s bidding? Who do you work for: Wall Street or the American people?
The bill even goes so far as to take another incremental step at wounding the Affordable Care Act, Talking Points Memo reports.
The rich, Wall Street and the Ayn Rand acolytes are receiving candy canes made of gold, while the rest of those in the United States are getting lumps of coal in their holiday stockings.
One of the bill's provisions, however, stands out as another major incremental erosion of democracy by increasingly handing elections over to the oligarchy. As reported by Arlette Saenz,
The biggest surprise in the huge spending measure is a major change to campaign finance laws that effectively declares campaign finance reform dead. The tail-end of the spending bill includes language that will increase the amount individuals may donate to national party committees tenfold. Individual donors can now donate $32,400 to the Democratic or Republican National Committee, but starting next year, individuals may donate $324,000 to these committees, a tenfold increase. The parties will help raise money for political conventions. The change that flew under the radar will likely anger those who think money is playing too large of a role in politics.
For those who have advocated against the insidious impact of the Citizens United decision, this is a giant step backward for democracy.
What is even more dismaying is that it appears that the Democratic Party, represented by the Democratic National Committee, is quietly supporting the increase in the power of the rich to influence elections. According to an article in the Huffington Post,
Congressional budget negotiators from both parties have included a provision in the bill to continue funding the government into next year that dramatically changes campaign finance law to allow lawmakers to solicit even bigger contributions from the wealthiest donors....
The change would effectively obliterate campaign contribution limits to the parties, while eviscerating the limits placed by the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law on how much a political candidate can seek from a donor.
Yes, the duopoly that works at the behest of the plutocracy is alive and well in DC. Despite many House Democrats voting against the spending bill - particularly because of the Dodd-Frank Bill rollback of the regulation of derivatives - the poobahs of both parties have decided to up political contribution fees as the cost of "doing business" in the nation's capital.