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The familiar saying “money is power” carries two meanings: one is common in the United States today; the other less so. The common meaning asserts that money buys power and therefore that economic inequality tends towards, or causes, political inequality. According to this idea, the rich can use their income and wealth to pay lobbyists and influence legislation, to subsidize political campaigns and influence elections, and even to buy publicity and influence public opinion. In the limit case, the rich deploy these and other related methods to monopolize political power. Political scientists increasingly document that the limit case is not just possible, but becoming actual.

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