This is a very insightful article. It pulls together a number of threads, with references to supporting evidence, describing an impending tragedy. The author would not use that term, and with luck action will be taken to avoid tragedy.
Sophocles and Shakespeare use tragedic form when the sad results flow inexorably from circumstances that cannot be changed. In "Long Division," the tragedic circumstance is the confluence of wealth and power. "As elites use their political advantage to protect their economic status, their efforts feed back into the economic system in ways the impair future growth and social mobility." Ironically, the ethos of the vaunted free market system would make this dynamic inexorable: Adam Smith's invisible hand enables self interest to work for the common good. But when self interest moves beyond the economic market place into control of the political process (see Winner Take All Politics by Hacker and Pierson), the rules change and the playing field is no longer level. "As inequality grows, government policies increasingly respond to the narrow interests of elites, even when that comes at the expense of everyone else."
Yet isn't that what the First Amendment protects, the right of those with wealth driven power to have their say (and, as Panalver's quoted studies by Bartels and Gilens show, their way as well) in the political process? That is why the Citizens United case is tragic -- while defensible as a matter of legal analysis, it makes the slide into inequality, into an America where the playing field is skewed by and for elites (see Violence and Social Orders by economic Nobel Laureate Douglass North, which contrasts "limited social orders" with "open access social orders" over the ten thousand years of human civilization), inexorable.
There is some hope that we will avoid this tragedy. The hope is in our collective understanding of how the world works. This is most obvious in science, but there is reason to believe that, notwithstanding the partisan paralysis of our political process (see, again, Winner Take All Politics), knowledge and evidence of the consequences of the tragic confluence of the totems of "free markets" and "free speech" will attain a clarity in the public mind that will enable our politics to restore (and maintain) a playing field that is level not merely on the surface but more subtely.
Toward those ends the author Panalver helpfully refers at the end of his article to the 1986 USCCB pastoral on economics and the Occupy Wall Street initiatives.
All in all, a very well written and provocative artice. Thank you, Mr. Panalver.