"'Donating to George Bush might be the best investment tobacco companies made last year,' Reid said Thursday. 'This gift to the tobacco industry, which donated almost $3 million to Republicans last year, is yet another abuse of power by an out-of-touch administration dead set on putting the needs of wealthy donors and far, right-wing radicals ahead of the American people.'"
Think about the implications of Reid's statement. First off, I certainly believe that campaign donations work for the corporations and wealthy donors. There is no question that the rich are getting everything they want by literally buying legislation and legislators. And it happens on every level, national or local (see my previous post on Arizona politicians who refuse to recuse themselves from votes that benefit them personally. If they are self-interest whores, they will do others bidding for the right price as well.)
What scares the jeebus out of me, however, is the fact that an industry may have been able to buy a $120 billion penalty reduction for a mere $3 million. With the U.S. completely ignoring growing numbers of uber-non-competitive-monolithic corporations, this sort of precedent really is an inidicator of the end of democracy if left unchecked.
Gates could personally buy a Senate majority for a few million. Wal-mart, GE, Pfizer: off the top of your head, can't you name dozens of companies that could write beneficial legislation to earn themselves billions? Hell, look at our current administration... Halliburton is getting rich simply due to Cheney's past affiliation: it didn't even spend a dime! They only one paying a price in that scenario are the our soldiers in Iraq and the American taxpayer.