October 30, 2012
To the Editor:
Do you remember when constituencies of human voting citizens consumed the debatable attention of political candidates’ during the pinnacle of election cycles?
The cycle remains … only the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC fundamentally changed probable electoral outcomes. That 5-4 majority opinion granted moneyed voice to a new constituent … in the interest of expanding the free speech right of real people persons to corporate entity “persons,” thus equating the right of GE, ConAgra, Lockheed Martin, et al. to make political campaign contributions with your individual right to do the same.
Although “The Economy” is still referred to as the domestic issue that drives the voting opinions of citizens, the phrase has itself become code-speak for corporate business interest. Crudely put, “Vote for our candidate … or we royal-flush, card holding, global corporations will not play our game in the United States.” That conspiratorial-sounding warning (paraphrased from the mouth of at least two corporate CEOs) has been reported recently in the news. The intended effect – that worker/voters feel coerced by an employer’s threat to their employment – is Gilded Era/Pinkerton bully-speak – and ironic.
Whether political campaign threats are effective, coupled with distorted, 24/7 political advertising … corporate payrolls will continue migrating from the domestic economy. Bare-knuckle, “we win/you lose” persuasion is what that is called.
Until such future time when the cost of semi-skilled labor reaches global-wide equilibrium, the United States will not be a shining place to live and work for a domestic, under-educated, middle class. Any warning from CEOs to workers might just as well read “Vote for our candidates … we will still not play our game in the United States, but our profits will be impaired by elected candidates who are less sympathetic to our corporate business interests.” In truth, how a class of domestic workers, even only 1 percent more costly than global counterparts and even 100 percent educated in relevant technology, might change its fortune without full surrender remains somewhat problematic in a global economy seeking the cheapest labor and the maximum profit – even with a 28th U.S. Constitutional amendment to nullify Citizens United v. FEC.
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Voters have always mulled the question of which candidate would most likely extend (or restore) prosperity, or to wit, legislate in a manner that ensures a thriving economy and a largess of job opportunity. The newest constituent with its “one mind-one interest” has born forth a new imbalance and a tragic impasse between business interests and worker interests.
Democracy in the U.S. will continue as a “one person-one vote” system, but only in a very round-about sense. Federal elections will still be determined by the majority of actual persons casting their one vote for candidates, though henceforth primarily for candidates whose immense campaign contributions from non-person “persons” exceed those of their opponents.
Government application of economic theory to influence better economic outcomes is widely debated and has never been keenly understood by a majority of voters in the U.S. And that was before the current, labyrinthine era of petulant global capitalism. With non-debate, our newest, non-person constituent will settle the issue for us in real world practice. There is nothing theoretical about how massive campaign contributions from single-minded, special interests influence election outcomes … or in which newest constituent’s overwhelming favor.
Jerry Shafer Jordan