Earlier this year, 50 organizations presented a letter to Congress requesting hearings on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. In May the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to this request. Today, at 2:30pm eastern the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold hearings to examine the three proposed constitutional amendments introduced in the Senate. Invitations to the hearings were issued to the senators who introduced the amendments and to advocates and experts who will testify to the impact of the Citizens United decision, the rise of Super PACs, and the impact of unlimited corporate spending on individual candidates. Lawrence Lessig, Rootstrikers' founder, will be among those testifying. You can view the live webcast of the hearing here.
There have been 14 constitutional amendment resolutions introduced in the House and Senate concerning the Citizens United decision in the 112th Congress. Eleven resolutions were introduced in the House and three in the Senate. More than 100 members of Congress, including 24 U.S. senators, have backed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. More than 1000 public officials from 41 states are on record in support of a constitutional amendment. More than 200 state and local government resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment have passed nationwide with another 80 resolutions in the works.
Photo credit: Victoria Pickering
First: “Americans spend more annually on chewing gum and Easter candy” than on elections.
Second: “Shrink the size of government and its intrusions in peopleâs lives and youâll shrink the amount people will spend trying to get their piece of the pie.”
The problem here is that it’s the amount of cash flowing around in free market which motivates lobbyists to distort government regulations in favor of their sponsoring industry or corporation. How can there be a mass market for candy unless trademarks are protected? Who would ever buy food from an anonymous source unless we could trust it to be safe?
It wasn’t so long ago that candy was colored using metal-based dyes, including lead and mercury. Nowadays there laws against it. Maybe Mr. Shapiro thinks “market forces” would work against inferior or dangerous products. But how will consumers know what they are buying unless the trademark itself is reliable? How do I know I’m buying a true Snickers bar, or if some fly-by-night operator is using counterfeit labels? In our society, the counterfeiters will not just go out of business, but also to jail. Without the jail term, they’d have a business model they could use again & again.
It only takes a little bit of thinking to see how the same logic applies to meat packing, prescription drug development, on and on throughout the whole range of industries. We have to trust in the labels on our packages, the nameplates on our cars, and the logo on our airplanes. And however honest are the great majority of suppliers, ther will always be opportunists who are willing to exploit our trust.
A healthy economy, especiall a mass economy, depends on many kinds of regulations simply to allow consumers to trust vendors. Only a village economy can operate on individuals who trust each other.
Shapiro and eveyone else at Cato knows this. They ignore it on purpose, but they shouldn’t get away with it.