Daily Revolt

May 17, 2007

'08 Presidential Candidates: Government by the Rich

Here we are more than 200 years after overthrowing a monarchy, and we are still ruled by a privileged elite. Although being wealthy can suggest a level of accomplishment, in the case of this presidential election cycle it is gains coming from connections, and using public service to line the pockets, is what should concern us. When so many candidates are millionaires how can we have a government that represents the whole people:
Running for president is a pursuit for the wealthy, according to personal financial disclosure forms released yesterday that show that at least 10 of the major party candidates are millionaires and, collectively, the field of contenders is worth at least a quarter-billion dollars.

Edwards' case is particularly obnoxious given that his campaign has made poverty a top campaign issue:
And John Edwards, a trial lawyer who earned his initial fortune by defending the ill and injured in the courtroom, made $479,000 last year in salary and held than $7.5 million in investments with Fortress Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

Edwards has faced questions about the hedge fund -- where he said he worked only a few days a month -- because Fortress owned offshore funds that served as tax havens for investors and because the firm's portfolio included subprime lenders, which provide high-risk loans that often target minorities. As a candidate, Edwards has railed against both practices.

Then there is Giuliani, who used 9/11 to rake in big bucks:
Each candidate's wealth has a story behind it, though one candidate whose fortune has been made largely outside the public eye is Giuliani, who left the mayor's office with modest holdings for a man with worldwide fame: $1.2 million to $1.8 million in personal assets, according to his disclosure forms from that period.

Since that time, his empire has grown to include a consulting firm that earned him $4.1 million last year, a partnership in the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani that guarantees him $1 million per year, book royalties and speaking fees that grossed more than $11 million, and a dizzying array of stock holdings and business interests that combined are worth $20 million to $70 million.

[...]His report also shows that he is collecting interest from money loaned to Kenneth Caruso, a law partner whom Giuliani appointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Gambling Control Commission and an advisory panel on city appointments during his mayoral tenure.

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