Originally published in Politico.
Financial wilding led to our economic collapse. Use of exotic “innovations” — like derivatives and credit default swaps — exploded. Regulators were paralyzed while huge bets were made in the shadows. Markets, we were assured, self-regulate. Congress blocked reform. Big money rushed in, seeking ever higher returns. Laws legitimized shadow financial activities. Speculation careened out of control.
A similar wilding now threatens our democracy as out-of-control big money floods our elections. These exotic derivatives are the super PACs and related operations, fueled by cartloads of secret money. The Federal Election Commission is toothless and paralyzed. Congress blocks new regulations. The Supreme Court opened the floodgates with Citizens United, ruling that corporations have the right to spend unlimited sums in “independent expenditure” campaigns. The marketplace of ideas, we are assured, can regulate itself.
This financial wilding is likely to escalate until it thoroughly corrupts our democracy. more »
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