Today, the wealthiest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of America — 150 million people.
Today, one family, the Walton family of Walmart fame, with $89 billion, own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America. One family owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent. Today, the top one percent own 40 percent of all wealth, while the bottom sixty percent owns less than 2 percent. Incredibly, the bottom 40 percent of all Americans own just 3/10 of one percent of the wealth of the country.
That is what is going on economically in this country. A handful of billionaires own a significant part of the wealth of America and have enormous control over our economy. What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires: “You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.” That is the essence of what Citizens United is all about — and that’s why it must be overturned.
Let’s be clear. Why should we be surprised that one family, worth $50 billion, is preparedto spend $400 million in this election to protect their interests? That’s a small investment for them and a good investment. But it is not only the Koch brothers. There are at least 23 billionaire families who have contributed a minimum of $250,000 each into the political process up to now during this campaign; my guess is that number is really much greater because many of these contributions are made in secret. In other words, not content to own our economy, the one percent want to own our government as well.