To the editor:
If money is indeed the root of all evil, then one of its taproots must surely be traced to the American electoral process. In California, a candidate for governor has spent $120 million personally and the number may reach $200 million by Nov. 2. In Kansas one candidate for governor has spent over $2 million.
The New York Times, on Oct. 22, ran a front page article on spending this election cycle. The two major parties have spent $48 and $42 million respectively, the majority party spending the most. The total number reported to date is $164 million. Of the next six top spenders, only the SEIU, a favorite target of derision by the far right, has ties to the party in power.
Down on Main Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks fourth at $21 million. Interestingly, though, the chamber represents three million companies with over 300,000 members, nearly half of its $149 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 members. Chamber tax returns indicate 21 individuals donated over $1 million and one contributed $15 million.
There is something fundamentally wrong, if not illegal, with the obscene expenditures that continue to dominate our politics and keep us dominated by the two parties. An oligarchy threatens our democracy as the income gap continues to grow, more wealth in the hands of a few and the American citizenry finds itself poorer, hungrier, and still fighting for adequate health care now. Peace.