Commentary

It’s been five years since the Supreme Court decided Citizens United, which allowed unlimited corporate money into the political system and increased the domination of democracy by the wealthy elite. Money has indeed overwhelmed the system since 2008.

| |

If you're wondering why issues favored by a majority of Americans such as raising the minimum wage, gun control and net neutrality get scarcely any attention in the halls of Congress, the Citizens United case is the reason.

President Obama this week touted new ways to help students pay for college, but he also proposed stripping away a popular benefit: a significant tax advantage of college savings plans used by millions of American families.

| |

Every year, H&R Block starts running television commercials imploring Americans to “get your billion back,” a plea based on the premise that each year, a chunk of money goes unclaimed by Americans who don’t take full advantage of the array of tax credits and deductions offered to them. Regardless of its numerical accuracy, it’s a fairly accurate representation of the inefficiency of providing public benefits through the tax code.

| |

Five years ago this week, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court decided to allow unlimited amounts of corporate spending in political campaigns. How important was that decision? At the time, some said criticism of the decision was overblown, and that fears that it would give outsize influence to powerful interests were unfounded. Now, the evidence is in, and the results are devastating. [...]

In their seminal 1980 study on the question, using data from 1972, political scientists Raymond Wolfinger and Steven Rosenstone argued that “voters are virtually a carbon copy of the citizen population.” In 1999, Wolfinger and his colleague Benjamin Highton again came to the same conclusion: “Outcomes would not change if everyone voted.” Their argument rested upon the fact that polling data did not show large differences in opinions on most issues between those who voted and those who

For too long, it appeared that many Democrats were trying to fight economic inequality with policies like the minimum wage while ignoring the 800-pound gorilla, Wall Street. But Rep.

| |

If the government were creating a new panel to advise on financial regulation, it would make sense to include a Nobel Laureate considered one of the most influential living economists.

| |

Regulatory policies are expected to play a significant part in the agenda of the new Congress. Congressional leaders have indicated in particular that they will be holding hearings on EPA regulations that would affect the operation of coal-fired power plants, and on aspects of the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.

You might be under the impression that America's poor are only poor by American standards. After all, the United States is a rich nation, and hey, practically anyone here can at least afford a decent TV.

|