Big money in politics corrupts our democracy—at taxpayer expense

96% of Americans are concerned about its corrosive effects:

  • Multinational corporations and wealthy individuals spend billions on political campaigns, much of it untraceable. 
  • Corporate lobbyists write legislation governing the industries they represent. Congress rubber-stamps it, and the rest of us foot the bill. 
  • Voter suppression reduces the power of minority and younger citizens, and keeps working people divided.
  • If reasonable regulations get through Congress, judges strike them down on the grounds of corporate Constitutional rights. 

The six items identified here cost taxpayers nearly $6,000 per person, per year. Eliminating just these few corrupt benefits of campaign funders would raise the typical 2.5-person-household income from $63,000 to almost $78,000—a 24% increase.

Each item is listed with its approximate per person toll in 2019:

Fossil fuel interests reap direct and indirect subsidies as calculated by the International Monetary Fund (see this too).

 $1,966


Wealthy elites gain from a lower tax rate on dividends and capital gains, compared to wages.

$1,919


The health insurance industry keeps excess profits. Medicare pays out 98% of its revenue in health benefits, while private insurance pays out 85%.

$1,161*


Pharma influence wins sky-high drug prices in the U.S., compared to other wealthy nations.

$350


Individuals and corporations make big campaign donations and hide wealth in foreign tax havens.

 $337


Business lobbying gained a lowered corporate tax rate of 21% along with subsidies that drop the average-tax-rate paid to only 11%.

$225


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

$5,958 per person

 


It’s even worse! This $2 trillion total taxpayer cost does not include:

  • Corruption in funds set up to provide pandemic relief

  • Low wages and union busting

  • Failure to regulate banks and corporate monopolies

  • Unnecessary healthcare treatments and other medical cost run-ups*

  • $6 trillion in Mideast wars alone, plus war-related human suffering

  • Corrupt weapons and military contracts

  • Inheritance-tax reductions over the past 20 years and loopholes on capital gains for heirs

  • No FICA tax for the wealthy above $132,900 for 2019

  • State and local corporate giveaways

 

* The Washington Post estimated excess costs of the U.S. healthcare system at $8,000 per person in January, 2020.