Special Interests Run Our Country for Their Own Benefit
Congress is responsible for passing legislation in the United States, but that doesn’t mean they are setting the agenda. Trade groups, corporations and other special interests and their lobbyists are now steering our country in their favor.
This is easy to see. Polls have shown the majority of Americans think free trade is bad for the United States, yet our congressional representatives and our president continue to pursue misguided free trade deals.
The heads of national trade groups are pulling in big salaries–in the millions of dollars–for pushing their agendas in Washington. It is no wonder they are earning such large salaries, as legislation can mean big rewards for a few at the expense of others. Free trade has enriched a few millionaires and billionaires who have profited off cheap overseas labor, but it has been very costly for the average American who goes to work everyday looking for a decent wage.
The Supreme Court’s devastating Citizens United ruling in 2010 has made these special interests even more powerful. Wealthy individuals can now give unlimited sums of money to push their causes, making the votes and donations of ordinary Americans much less meaningful.
It is increasingly clear that action is needed to reign in the disastrous effects of Citizens United. The only way to ensure that this misguided decision is completely overturned is through a constitutional amendment, which is no small feat. A constitutional amendment requires political cooperation on a scale we have rarely seen in recent years, but it is possible if it can be made clear to our leaders that change is needed.
Citizens United did not create the ability for wealthy individuals to influence our elections, but it did increase their power. We need transparency and reasonable election laws so that the few elected representatives that actually work for good are not forced from office by special interest money. These things will not be possible until we bring together our legislators and our states and demand that control of the United States be returned to the people through an amendment.
Such an amendment has been proposed in Congress, but it has not been acted on. We need to act on this now, before the next election, so that we can have a shot at putting leaders in place who have America’s best interests at heart.