Download and read online Plutocrats United in PDF and EPUB Campaign financing is one of today’s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money flows freely on both sides. In Plutocrats United, Richard Hasen argues that both left and right avoid the key issue of the new Citizens United era: balancing political inequality with free speech. The Supreme Court has long held that corruption and its appearance are the only reasons to constitutionally restrict campaign funds. Progressives often agree but have a much broader view of corruption. Hasen argues for a new focus and way forward: if the government is to ensure robust political debate, the Supreme Court should allow limits on money in politics to prevent those with great economic power from distorting the political process.
Download and read online Plutocrats United in PDF and EPUB From a leading expert on election law, a compelling answer to the dilemmas of campaign finance reform
Download and read online Plutocrats United in PDF and EPUB From a leading expert on election law, a compelling answer to the dilemmas of campaign finance reform Campaign financing is one of today s most divisive political issues. The left asserts that the electoral process is rife with corruption. The right protests that the real aim of campaign limits is to suppress political activity and protect incumbents. Meanwhile, money flows freely on both sides. In "Plutocrats United, "Richard Hasen argues that both left and right avoid the key issue of the new Citizens United era: balancing political inequality with free speech. The Supreme Court has long held that corruption and its appearance are the only reasons to constitutionally restrict campaign funds. Progressives often agree but have a much broader view of corruption. Hasen argues for a new focus and way forward: if the government is to ensure robust political debate, the Supreme Court should allow limits on money in politics to prevent those with great economic power from distorting the political process."
Download and read online Plutocrats in PDF and EPUB A Financial Times Best Book of the Year Shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize There has always been some gap between rich and poor in this country, but recently what it means to be rich has changed dramatically. Forget the 1 percent—Plutocrats proves that it is the wealthiest 0.1 percent who are outpacing the rest of us at breakneck speed. Most of these new fortunes are not inherited, amassed instead by perceptive businesspeople who see themselves as deserving victors in a cutthroat international competition. With empathy and intelligence, Plutocrats reveals the consequences of concentrating the world’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands. Propelled by fascinating original interviews with the plutocrats themselves, Plutocrats is a tour de force of social and economic history, the definitive examination of inequality in our time.
Download and read online The Rich Don t Always Win in PDF and EPUB The Occupy Wall Street protests have captured America's political imagination. Polls show that two-thirds of the nation now believe that America's enormous wealth ought to be "distributed more evenly." However, almost as many Americans--well over half--feel the protests will ultimately have "little impact" on inequality in America. What explains this disconnect? Most Americans have resigned themselves to believing that the rich simply always get their way. Except they don't. A century ago, the United States hosted a super-rich even more domineering than ours today. Yet fifty years later, that super-rich had almost entirely disappeared. Their majestic mansions and estates had become museums and college campuses, and America had become a vibrant, mass middle class nation, the first and finest the world had ever seen. Americans today ought to be taking no small inspiration from this stunning change. After all, if our forbears successfully beat back grand fortune, why can't we? But this transformation is inspiring virtually no one. Why? Because the story behind it has remained almost totally unknown, until now. This lively popular history will speak directly to the political hopelessness so many Americans feel. By tracing how average Americans took down plutocracy over the first half of the 20th Century--and how plutocracy came back-- The Rich Don't Always Win will outfit Occupy Wall Street America with a deeper understanding of what we need to do to get the United States back on track to the American dream.
Download and read online Dark Money in PDF and EPUB Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. The network has brought together some of the richest people on the planet. Their core beliefs—that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom—are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws. The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch, whose father made his fortune in part by building oil refineries in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. The patriarch later was a founding member of the John Birch Society, whose politics were so radical it believed Dwight Eisenhower was a communist. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights. When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. Richard Mellon Scaife, the mercurial heir to banking and oil fortunes, had the brilliant insight that most of their political activities could be written off as tax-deductible “philanthropy.” These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision—a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network. The political operatives the network employs are disciplined, smart, and at times ruthless. Mayer documents instances in which people affiliated with these groups hired private detectives to impugn whistle-blowers, journalists, and even government investigators. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied. Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews-including with several sources within the network-and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings in reporting this book. In a taut and utterly convincing narrative, she traces the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by the network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy. Dark Money is a book that must be read by anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.
Download and read online The Ideas Industry in PDF and EPUB The concept of the "public intellectual" has a rich and colorful history. It began in the early twentieth century, when the new mass media catapulted intellectuals who were able to write for the general public to semi-stardom. The first wave included figures like Walter Lippmann - who coinedthe term "stereotype" and is widely considered the founder of media studies - and by the 1950s, public intellectuals as a species had become a powerful and influential force in the American cultural landscape. By the 1970s, the standard definition of the public intellectual had solidified: a person(often university-affiliated, but not always) able to discuss and dispute any serious issue, typically in venues like The New York Review of Books, and occasionally influence politics. The traditional definition of the public intellectual remains with us, but as Daniel W. Drezner shows in The Ideas Industry, it has been gradually supplanted by a new model in recent years: the "thought leader." In contrast to public intellectuals, thought leaders gain fame as purveyors of a singlebig idea. Also, instead of battling it out with intellectual combatants in the pages of The Partisan Review, The Public Interest, and their descendants, they often work through institutions that are closed to the public and which release information selectively. Thought leaders and their associatedideas tend to become brands - hedgehogs to the public intellectual fox. They have also proven to be quite successful, as evidenced by TED, Aspen Ideas, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the like. Furthermore, they often align with one side of a politically polarized debate and enjoy the support ofideologically friendly private funders. Drezner identifies increasing inequality as a prime mover of this shift, contending that our present-day class of plutocrats not only wants to go back to school, it wants to force "schools" - in the form of intellectuals with elite affiliations - to come tothem. And they have the money to make this happen. Drezner, however, does not see the phenomenon as necessarily negative. While there are certainly some downsides to the contemporary ideas industry, he argues that it is very good at broadcasting intellectual content widely and reaching largeaudiences of people hungry for new thinking. Both fair-minded and trenchant, The Ideas Industry will reshape our understanding of contemporary public intellectual life in America and the West.
Download and read online Capitalism v Democracy in PDF and EPUB As of the latest national elections, it costs approximately $1 billion to become president, $10 million to become a Senator, and $1 million to become a Member of the House. High-priced campaigns, an elite class of donors and spenders, superPACs, and increasing corporate political power have become the new normal in American politics. In Capitalism v. Democracy, Timothy Kuhner explains how these conditions have corrupted American democracy, turning it into a system of rule that favors the wealthy and marginalizes ordinary citizens. Kuhner maintains that these conditions have corrupted capitalism as well, routing economic competition through political channels and allowing politically powerful companies to evade market forces. The Supreme Court has brought about both forms of corruption by striking down campaign finance reforms that limited the role of money in politics. Exposing the extreme economic worldview that pollutes constitutional interpretation, Kuhner shows how the Court became the architect of American plutocracy. Capitalism v. Democracy offers the key to understanding why corporations are now citizens, money is political speech, limits on corporate spending are a form of censorship, democracy is a free market, and political equality and democratic integrity are unconstitutional constraints on money in politics. Supreme Court opinions have dictated these conditions in the name of the Constitution, as though the Constitution itself required the privatization of democracy. Kuhner explores the reasons behind these opinions, reveals that they form a blueprint for free market democracy, and demonstrates that this design corrupts both politics and markets. He argues that nothing short of a constitutional amendment can set the necessary boundaries between capitalism and democracy.
Download and read online American Monsters in PDF and EPUB With specially commissioned essays by veteran chroniclers such as Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin, this collection spotlights 40 profiles of history's most celebrated and notorious Americans: the corrupt, greedy, power-mad, and vicious betrayers of the dreams of fair play and equal opportunity.
Download and read online Affluence and Influence in PDF and EPUB Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections. With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans' preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not. Gilens shows that representational inequality is spread widely across different policy domains and time periods. Yet Gilens also shows that under specific circumstances the preferences of the middle class and, to a lesser extent, the poor, do seem to matter. In particular, impending elections--especially presidential elections--and an even partisan division in Congress mitigate representational inequality and boost responsiveness to the preferences of the broader public. At a time when economic and political inequality in the United States only continues to rise, Affluence and Influence raises important questions about whether American democracy is truly responding to the needs of all its citizens.
Download and read online The Law of the Executive Branch in PDF and EPUB The Law of the Executive Branch: Presidential Power places the law of the executive branch firmly in the context of constitutional language, framers' intent, and more than two centuries of practice. Each provision of the US Constitution is analyzed to reveal its contemporary meaning and in concert with the application of presidential power.
Download and read online Buying the Vote in PDF and EPUB "Campaign finance reform has always been motivated by a definition of democracy that does not count corporations as citizens and holds that self-government works best by reducing political inequality. In the early years of the twentieth century, Congress recognized the strength of these principles by prohibiting corporations from making campaign contributions, passing a disclosure law, and setting limits on campaign expenditures. These reforms were not controversial at the time, but conservative opposition to them appeared in the 1970s. That opposition was well represented in the Supreme Court, which has rolled back reform by granting First Amendment rights to corporations and declaring the goal of reducing political inequality to be unconstitutional. Buying the Vote analyzes the rise and decline of campaign finance reform by tracking changes in the way presidential campaigns have been funded since the late nineteenth century, and changes in the debate over how to reform fundraising practices. A close examination of major Supreme Court decisions shows how the Court has fashioned a new and profoundly inegalitarian redefinition of American democracy"--
Download and read online Supremely Partisan in PDF and EPUB On the eve of a presidential election that may determine the makeup of Supreme Court justices for decades to come, prominent attorney James D. Zirin argues that the Court has become increasingly partisan, rapidly making policy choices right and left on bases that have nothing to do with law or the Constitution. Zirin explains how we arrived at the present situation and looks at the current divide through its leading partisans, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor on the left and Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas on the right. He also examines four of the Court’s most controversial recent decisions – Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, gay marriage, and capital punishment – arguing that these politicized decisions threaten to undermine public confidence in the Supreme Court.
Download and read online The Voting Wars in PDF and EPUB In 2000, just a few hundred votes out of millions cast in the state of Florida separated Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush from his Democratic opponent, Al Gore. The outcome of the election rested on Florida's 25 electoral votes, and legal wrangling continued for 36 days. Then, abruptly, one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, Bush v. Gore, cut short the battle. Since the Florida debacle we have witnessed a partisan war over election rules. Election litigation has skyrocketed, and election time brings out inevitable accusations by political partisans of voter fraud and voter suppression. These allegations have shaken public confidence, as campaigns deploy "armies of lawyers" and the partisan press revs up when elections are expected to be close and the stakes are high.
Download and read online Behind the Ballot Box in PDF and EPUB Amy provides readers with all the relevant information needed to analyze and to choose from various voting system options. He brings together information and analysis about the full range of voting systems. The book is "one-stop-shopping" for those interested in learning more about voting systems and how to choose among them.