The Limits of Money

The results of the off year election continue to trickle in, and are encouraging indeed. Kshama Sawant, who was behind in the polls, now seems destined to hang on to her Seattle City Council seat.
If this were just a left/right issue (she is very much on the left, an open socialist) I would still be happy, but since it is emblematic of a greater issue, I am ecstatic.
Her win means that money isn’t everything in politics. It has its limits.
Jeff Bezos, richest man in the world, worth nearly 200 billion dollars, really, really wanted to bring her down. He spent over a million dollars to support her opponent. Now, ‘over a million dollars’ may not sound like a lot, and to somebody like Jeff Bezos it is, indeed, pocket change. But for a city council seat election, it is a massive amount of money.
Bezos was not happy with Seattle raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, because they’d like to pay their employees a lot less, and he was double unhappy with a per head employee tax of $275 (i.e. for every employee you have, you have to pay $275), which was meant to subsidize affordable housing.
Since I’m in favor of big corporations being taxed all over the place, until they’ve funded a utopian, green paradise where everybody lives happily ever after, I’m obviously on Kshama’s side.
But the real reason I am overjoyed with her win is that it shows there is a limit. If billionaires throw too much money into a campaign, at some point it becomes obvious and people start saying “Hey, wait a minute. Why are these evil, rich bastards spending so much money on this candidate, or this issue, or this party?”
And they’ll vote the other way. That is a beautiful thing.

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