This is hard to believe, but it's true. Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, one of the 400 richest Americans said earlier this year:
"I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. And so I hope that other individuals who have really enjoyed growing up in a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and economic freedom is part of the pursuit of happiness – (I hope they realize) they have a duty now to step up and protect that. Not for themselves, but for their kids and for their grandchildren and for the person down the street that they don’t even know …"
A super-patriot, isn't he? He's worried about "the person down the street." Let's give him a medal.
But you and I know that Griffin favors current rules that enable rich people like himself to become richer and poor workers to stay poor. He likes tax cuts for billionaires and reduced government spending for the poor and the middle class. He'll vote for Romney, he'll say, because Romney believes in the "free market." But the real reason Griffin will vote for Romney and other Republicans is that Romney and Republicans favor policies that are good for the already rich people like himself.
We are swamped with billionaire influence. Billionaires buy ads for politicians they like. Billionaires buy lobbyists to write laws they like. Billionaires form superPACs to elect presidents and legislators they like.
We can do with a little less influence from hedge fund billionaires. It's time for the average Joe to speak up and try to influence our political debate. We must do this if we want to save our democracy.