I was on the Thom Hartmann TV show Big Picture last night, discussing a new banker Super PAC. I wrote a piece for AlterNet, New Super-PAC Threatens to Destroy Candidates Who Side With the People Over Wall Street.
The basic story here, (click through for the whole story) is that this new Super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts, and plans to use this money against lawmakers as much as or more than in support of them, to make them "afraid of bankers" and "hammer them" with "a big stick."
I joke that this is more "financial innovation" brought to us by the financial sector (like CDOs and credit swaps), making it cheaper to influence politicians because you only have to crush one or two, rather than keep the payouts going by hiring them, etc.
The key to the cost-effectiveness of this approach is that they will rarely have to actually follow through on the threat, and spend the money. Just the threat is sufficient. Few elected officials will be able to stand up to a threat of unlimited millions spent destroying him or her. If anyone actually does resist, making an example by publicly destroying that lawmaker will serve as sufficient warning to the rest.
Except it's not a joke, it's the end of democracy, because of course corporate money drowns out regular people. It is also the end of "free markets" because the new "Citizens United" system that lets corporations spend as much as they want on campaigns means that of course the biggest corporations can and will use their size and money to buy laws limiting or even outlawing their competition, limiting innovation and legislating their own dominance.