America’s Government doesn’t represent the people.
A Princeton University study comparing 1,779 policy outcomes to more than 20 years public opinion data (in other words, comparing what the public wanted to what the government actually did) found that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” while average citizens “have little or no independent influence” [source] [summary].
Members of Congress are obsessed with raising money…
… From a tiny fraction of the population.
Just 0.12% of the population made $200 or more in political contributions in the last election cycle [source].
Politicians give donors special treatment.
Special interests spend big to influence lawmakers…
Special interests spent $10.4 million per day on campaign donations and lobbying to influence Congress in the last election (2014 midterms) alone [source].
… And it works. Really, really well.
In the last 5 years, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government. Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support [source]. Another analysis found that by increasing its donations to members of Congress, a company typically gets its taxes lowered by $33 million. Quoting directly, “the more a firm gives, the better its results.” [source]