money vs people

The Big Chill: How Big Money Is Buying Off Criticism of Big Money

Not long ago I was asked to speak to a religious congregation about widening inequality. Shortly before I began, the head of thecongregation asked that I not advocate raising taxes on the wealthy.

He said he didn’t want to antagonize certain wealthycongregants on whose generosity the congregation depended.

I had a similar exchange last year with the president of a small college who had invited me to give a lecture that his board of trustees would be attending. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t criticize Wall Street,” he said, explaining that several of the trustees were investment bankers.

It seems to be happening all over.

A non-profit group devoted to voting rights decides it won’t launch a campaign against big money in politics for fear of alienating wealthy donors.

A Washington think-tank releases a study on inequality that fails to mention the role big corporations and Wall Street have played in weakening the nation’s labor and antitrust laws, presumably because the think tank doesn’t want to antagonize its corporate and Wall Street donors.

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