What’s left of “Occupy Wall Street” turned up on Wednesday outside Mitt Romney’s Iowa campaign offices and a branch of the Wells Fargo bank, whose employees are apparently not allowed to contribute money to political candidates. (The First Amendment is but a speed bump to the righteous!)
According to the Des Moines Register, ten of them were arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, including three who sneaked into the Wells Fargo bank. Banks frown on that sort of thing. The Occupiers happily declared that the arrests were “a crucial tactic to draw attention to economic issues that include corporate greed and income inequality,” although they considered it “shameful” that Romney staffers called the cops on them.
What’s their beef with Romney? They’re peeved that he hasn’t released his tax returns, and they want Wells Fargo to release theirs, too. Also, 40 Wells Fargo employees across the nation have donated $49,250 to the Romney campaign, while “political action committees and individuals with ties to Wells Fargo” have kicked in $61,500. Those sinister fiends!
The group is also said to be upset with “Obama’s failure to enact substantial changes,” and plans to protest at his Des Moines campaign office on Thursday.
The real bone of contention is the fabled “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, as explained by Occupier Jennifer Marsh:
Marsh said Citizens United, a 2010 Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited independent campaign expenditures on behalf of political candidates, helped drive her decision to be arrested.
She said she chose arrest — her first — because other methods to drive political change don’t work.
“They are spending ridiculous amounts of money in Iowa, trying to essentially buy votes. That’s polluting the democratic process,” she said.
Marsh, on the other hand, is a self-appointed absolute political authority who has the right to violate private property with impunity. When the police begged to differ with her, she cried, “Our questions have gone unanswered. This is not democracy. This is hypocrisy.”
No, this is a good old-fashioned power struggle, in which some claim a superior right to control political discourse, far beyond merely expressing their opinion. Certain other groups are said to have no right to express their opinions at all. If money could be somehow “cleansed” from politics – an absurd quest that produces nothing except increasingly tortured, often counter-productive campaign laws – it would redistribute oppressive and corrupting political power to different groups, rather than dispelling it.
The problems we face are far more a question of what the government does, rather than whose interests it serves. Corruption is a supply-side problem. Make power available for sale, and it will attract buyers. The argument over who should be allowed to place bids only serves to place even more power in the hands of the State and its devoted allies, such as Big Media, who invariably gain the power to decide whose political influence will be deemed virtuous, and whose will be damned as sinful.
Why should employees of Wells Fargo, or lawfully constructed political action committees somehow associated with it, sacrifice their ability to influence the political process, while countless other organizations and corporations do not? Should we have a rule that says all individuals and corporations which derive some sort of benefit from the government are forbidden from making political contributions? That would certainly make our elections much swifter, quieter, and less representative.
Or maybe we should forbid all expenditures of money in politics… and hand ultimate power to manpower-heavy community organizations and unions, along with an almighty media priesthood that would effectively control elections instead of merely influencing them.
The political class enjoys more than enough regulatory insulation already. Are you worried about the big-spending pigs feeding at the Washington trough? Take away the trough.