Big money in politics corrupts our democracy—at your expense

96% of Americans are concerned about its corrosive effects:

As corporations and elites spend major sums on influencing elections, they reap fantastic rewards at our expense.  Here we give you an idea of how much they're taking from working people using this legalized corruption.

In the years since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision, spending on elections has skyrocketed with each cycle, reaching a record-smashing $16.4 billion for a mid-term, state-and-federal race in 2022. 

Each item of corporate looting below is listed with its approximate per person toll. Typical U.S. persons (i.e., each adult or child) are losing about $8,800 every year.

 

Consider just four costs paid by you annually

Fossil fuel subsidies

In 2021, the U.S. fossil fuel industry harvested $660 billion in subsidies, a 3.1% share of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Source: International Monetary Fund.

Your Cost: $2,000


Unfair Tax Breaks

Tax breaks go overwhelmingly to those above the 80th percentile. The 400 wealthiest families in America paid an average federal tax rate of 8.2 percent on $1.8 trillion in income from 2010 to 2018, but a U.S. worker earning $45,000 paid an average tax rate of 21%. Sources: Congressional Budget Office, White House report, ProPublica.

Your Cost: $1,500


Social Security tax break for the rich

About 6% of workers – with incomes above $160,000 per year – do not pay the FICA tax on their full incomes. Taxing these incomes would eventually bring in at least $135 billion per year to the Social Security Trust Fund. Source: Congressional Budget Office

Your Cost: $400


Health care waste, fraud, and abuse

We spent $12,318 per capita on health care in 2021 –  67% higher thCan second-place Germany. Health insurers, Big Pharma, and private health firms reap huge profits, but health outcomes are worse. Health debt accounts for 40% of all U.S. bankruptcies. Source: Statista

Your cost: $4,900

(Click to expand graph)


Sum of items in this partial list of corrupt subsidies and corporate welfare:

$8,800 per person every year

 


Confirmation: All in all, policies that favor the uppermost tier contribute to America’s extreme income and wealth inequality. According to a Rand Corporation study, from 1975 to 2018, the cumulative tab for this inequality grew to over $47 trillion! And the difference in 2018 alone was $2.5 trillion! That’s thousands of times more than what the wealthy spend buying elections. 

 

NOTE: These rough estimates of costs to working Americans are solely intended to give people an idea of how much the tables have been tilted towards the ultra-wealthy. They are based on reliable, objective sources but do not constitute a scientific study. The scope of the problem is immense, and our political response must be equally powerful.

 

What solution are we calling for?

  • A Constitutional Amendment to guarantee the right to vote, regulate big money, and nullify the Supreme Court’s grant of Constitutional rights to corporations.
  • Legislation to tax and regulate billionaires and corporations so that working people get a fair share of what we contribute to the economy.