Infectious economics strike once more

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Old-fashioned greed destroying democratic process

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that limits on financial contributions to political candidates were unconstitutional in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission on April 2.

This decision has made an unfair and biased political system even worse, allowing the wealthiest Americans to have the most say in the political process.

For instance, David and Charles Koch, a couple of the richest people on the planet, donated $5.7 million to political campaigns in 2004 and spent an additional $3.7 million on direct lobbying, according to a 2010 Greenpeace report.

The same report found the Koch brothers donated $24,888,282 to groups denying climate change and have been directly fueling the skepticism around climate change.

At the same time, 97 to 98 percent of 1,372 of the most active climate researchers agree there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, according to a 2010 report from William Anderegg, of Stanford University, and colleagues.

Comparatively, 51 percent of the U.S. population is not concerned about climate change, according to a March Gallup Poll, indicating the investment in climate skepticism has been paying off.

Koch Industries has a vested interest in protecting the status quo because it is profitable for them and reform would jeopardize their investments in petroleum, energy and chemicals, just to name a few.

Compared to other developed nations, the U.S. is lagging considerably in climate change legislation, according to a Global Legislators Organization 2014 Climate Legislation Study.

“The policy preferences of high income groups are significantly related to subsequent policy outcomes,” wrote Martin Gilens, of Princeton University, in his report on inequality and democratic responsiveness in the United States, “while the preferences of middle income Americans are barely related to what laws end up being enacted.”

There is no easy solution when you are entering the game with the cards stacked against you, but where would we be if progressive leaders such as Malcolm X and Dorothea Dix chose not to get involved?

Stay on top of the issues in politics because they directly impact not just your life, but the lives of generations to come.