Joel Stein‘s latest installment of “The Awesome Column” in TIME reminds us that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling throwing out aggregate campaign contribution limits doesn’t necessarily mean good news for all rich people.
I don’t know if the Supreme Court’s decision to allow people to donate to as many candidates as they want will cause trouble for our democracy. But I do know it will cause a lot of trouble for rich people.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the extremely wealthy. Most have pools that are completely finite. Many are so secure in their first marriages that they include their spouse’s name on their museum wing. Also: They don’t call up candidates to offer them money. Candidates call them.
Now that the $48,600 limit on donations to federal candidates per election cycle has been wiped away by McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, everyone running for office will be bothering them. And now they have no excuse. …
… Those who did give the limit are already so entrenched in the donor system that a little more is not going to affect their lives. Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, who came within an accounting error of maxing out to Democratic candidates in 2012, said, “My problems are minor compared to some members of the Supreme Court, who seem to be suffering from a mental deficiency.” Ken Kies, who runs a tax-lobbying firm and has–along with his wife–maxed out giving to Republicans, isn’t worried either. “It’s already so irritating. I get 50 emails a day, so I can’t imagine that’s going to increase,” he said. The really big donors, he explained, are already giving as much as they want through super PACs. The really really big donors just run for office themselves.
The biggest change, he said, is that people in D.C. will claim to give more. “There are a lot of people throwing cocktail parties, saying they have given the max, but they apparently don’t understand there are basic websites you can look at to check,” he said. It’s the equivalent of celebrities in L.A. bragging about how much plastic surgery they haven’t had.