Thanks a Lot, Citizens United

The NYT is reporting* that more than 500 Super PACs have registered with the Federal Election Commission.

Very rich people used to show off with their Gulfstreams and Ferraris — a Super PAC is the new status symbol.

So now the whole point of limiting the dollar amount of campaign contributions, such as $2500 per person for a presidential campaign, is meaningless.  You just shift your money away from the campaign to its Super PAC.

That’s why Mitt’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future, has spent twice as much on ads so far, about $45 million, as Mitt’s campaign.  And those ads don’t have the tempering effect that the words “I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this message,” should have.  A candidate can be more shameless and outrageous when he doesn’t have his name on the thing.

If Citizens United protects “speech,” it’s pretty obscene speech.

Between the lobbyists and the campaign finance laws, We the People really don’t have a chance.

“Super PACs Let Strategists Off the Leash,” Nicholas Confessore

SCOTUS Splits Ideologically on Obamacare Fate

Just as yesterday the justices seemed split along ideological line about whether or not the individual mandate (which requires all Americans to buy health insurance) was constitutional, today they seemed split on what would happen to Obamacare if the mandate is removed.

The liberal members appeared to believe that the law itself could survive, while the conservatives seemed to think that killing the mandate would kill Obamacare entirely.

The Obama administration argued that without the mandate the parts of the law covering those with pre-existing conditions and limiting premium costs for especially sick Americans would have to go as well.

Essentially, the Obama administration took the side of the health insurance industry’s lobbyists, who agreed not to fight Obamacare in exchange for the mandate, which gives them millions of new customers, including many young, healthy people.

You’ll recall that during the 2008 campaign, President Obama himself opposed an individual mandate, while Hillary Clinton supported it.

Quote of the Day

Newt Gingrich — “I am running for President to represent you, not to represent the Washington lobbyists, not to represent Goldman Sachs, not to represent the people who have been ruining this country, and I need your help.”

So basically he’s telling us that leopards change their spots.  He’s telling us to ignore his entire professional life up until now.  Pay no attention to that $55 million he made in the last decade as a historian, consultant, lobbyist.

Newtie the adulterer is now a devout Catholic, and Newtie the prince of K Street  is now a populist.  What next, sex change surgery?

I would laugh, except that this is my country and my son’s future.

In the “That Ship Has Sailed” Department

A story on Politico about Wall Street taking on Elizabeth Warren in her run for Scott Brown’s Senate seat states that the banking lobbyists are “concerned about protecting their image.”  I imagine them pathetically, yet zealously clinging to those shreds and tatters.

From One Moron (Palin) to Another (Bachmann)

Like bad news, dumb ideas travel fast.  In her Iowa speech yesterday, Sarah Palin said that we should cut the corporate tax rate to zero.  Michele Bachmann, rapidly fading as Rick Perry ascends, quickly pandered to Palin’s supporters this morning on Face the Nation, saying “We certainly could get down to a zero percent corporate tax rate.”

I wonder where Mitt “I’m Also Unemployed” Romney is on all this.  After all, he’s the one who keeps saying that “corporations are people.”  Does that mean nobody should pay taxes?

Jon Huntsman has pointed out that a zero rate is ridiculous.  But speaking truth to Republican primary voters this year gets you 1% in the polls.  Be crazy or go home.

Right now, too many corporations have an effective zero rate because of the special treatment their lobbyists have won for them.  We need a lower corporate tax rate to be competitive with other countries, but we also need to eliminate all loopholes and subsidies, so that companies actually pay that lower rate.