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The death of something

by the YES! Staff

It is said that a judgment can be considered a sound one when both concerned parties are dissatisfied with the result.

But sometimes everybody is bent out of shape simply because a terrible decision has been made.

That’s the case in last week’s Supreme Court decision to lift caps on corporate campaign finance spending, which should raise ire from both sides of the political aisle.

The 5-4 decision essentially elevates corporate personhood into a new realm, granting them privileges inaccessible to actual persons, who by federal law may only donate $2,400 per candidate, $30,400 to national party committees and $10,000 to state and local political parties.

Lefties don’t like this because it gives incredible purchasing power to corporations looking for sympathetic politicians, and some would argue that corporations already wield inordinate power over life in the United States.

The Righties should be up in arms about this one because it grants the same license to unions, which any good conservative will tell you are ruining this country.

Also, it effectively nullifies a core provision of the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002, championed by the 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

The YES! Weekly editorial board, registered independents one and all, don’t like it either, and not just because we know that corporations rarely have the public’s best interest at heart and that most politicians would cook and eat their own pets if the price was right.

The thing is, the connection between campaign contributions and political decisions is one generally drawn by newspaper journalists who track down finance reports and compare them with a politician’s voting record, which is why we know Vice President Joe Biden, in his capacity as a Delaware senator, accepted $147,700 from employees of the MBMA credit card company between 1999-2004 and then in 2005 worked to enact a bill that made it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy.

But daily newspapers, which have always made enemies in political and business circles, are in trouble these days, and there are fewer reporters on the streets to keep track of the corruption rampant in our democracy. With the industry on its knees, it seems to us that journalism’s longtime adversaries are delivering a well-timed blow.

In his 90-page dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “The financial resources, legal structure, and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.”

Ironically, the majority opinion was based on the First Amendment — the right to free speech.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration

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