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The Billionaires' Long Game

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Relative to their net worth, the billionaire investors have been playing for a pittance.  Forbes magazine estimates Adelson's net worth at $21.5 billion. His Las Vegas Sands Corporation just approved a special dividend paying him about $1.2 billion this year, ahead of any possible tax increases that might emerge from congressional budget negotiations.

In the meantime, he and other billionaire political investors are profiting from their reputations as high-stakes players.

Adelson says he has many friends in Washington, "but the reasons aren't my good looks and charm. It's my pocket personality," referring to his political investments. And his determination to keep playing the odds ensures his Washington friends will continue to pay attention.

POLITICO reports Adelson recently met with three GOP governors said to be eyeing the 2016 presidential race.

This  week he met separately with House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (the Adelsons invested $10 million in super PACs affiliated with Boehner and Cantor), possibly to discuss changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

As income and wealth become ever more concentrated in America, the nation's billionaire political investors will invest even more.

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A record $6 billion was spent on the 2012 campaign, and outside groups poured $1.3 billion into political races, according to data from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.

That's why Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission has has to be reversed -- either by a Supreme Court that becomes aware of the poison it's unleashed into our democracy, or by constitutional amendment.

It's also why we need full disclosure of who contributes what to whom.

And public financing that matches public money to contributions from small donors.

Most fundamentally, it's why America's widening inequality must be reversed.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at

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Corporations ARE people, except when they commit c... by Dennis Kaiser on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 4:30:50 PM
If and when the billionnaires win, where will thei... by Daniel Vasey on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 4:35:54 PM
Of course, I hope that they won't win.But if they ... by BFalcon on Thursday, Dec 13, 2012 at 10:05:22 AM
that their investments in politicians will outlast... by Richard Girard on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 4:41:22 PM
I like the idea of a 50% tax on all WEALTH over 10... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 at 6:13:58 PM