Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Party of Corporate Interests?

BOTH major Parties are beholden to Corporate interests, and that’s probably to be expected, given the money they can churn out. But for decades, many American voters have believed the Republicans were the “Party of Big Business,” when that really isn’t the case.

How beholden are the Democrats to Corporate interests?

Well, the staid Washington Post noted that, "(Soft) money has become increasingly useful to the parties, and their receipts have surged. In 1980, when soft money was born, Republicans and Democrats combined raised an estimated $19 million, with the GOP collecting the largest share, $15 million, according to Colby College political scientist Anthony Corrado. Two decades later (2000), that total had ballooned to $487 million, split nearly evenly between the two sides. Once a sideline, soft money had become a major part of party financing, accounting for nearly half of the Democratic Party's receipts and more than a third of the GOP's."

There it is, the Democrats, as recently as 2000, relied on Corporate cash for HALF their receipts, while the GOP relied on Corporate cash for a THIRD of theirs!

This year (2007) corporate donors have made a seismic shift since January toward the new Democratic chairmen. In the first six months of this year, political action committees donated $41 million to Democrats, compared with $24 million for Republicans. During the previous year, Republicans received $32 million in PAC contributions, compared with $22 million for the Democrats, the report concluded.


Rachel said...

I get this funny (not) feeling that the Dems will be the people's party only in name, since they rely on corporate money, they will follow the corporate "masters".

I'm not against business (in fact, I used to be an objectivist and love our economy) but I am afraid that many laws will be stacked in the coporations favor and not everyday Americans. And that includes unions, as they are trying to bring back the closed shop. The people will be thrown a bone or two to show that they care (more pro-choice rulings, aff. action, increased funding in current programs) but I doubt that major changes that can help Americans (development of more mass transportation, lower housing prices or even less expensive homes, erasing ERISA and insurance loopholes that absolve hospitals and insurance companies from compensating injuries to patients while in hospital - did they close that already?) will get funded much. I hope I'm wrong.

JMK said...

Rachel I understand your views completely.

Corporations are often incredibly short-sighted, choosing short-term gain, over long-term prosperity. Like any human organization (including governments, charities and religions), they take on lives of their own and expand almost naturally. The people running those organizations often become blinded to the big picture and do things harmful to everyone else, for the sake of their organization's short-term benefit.

Acknowledging that flaw is certainly not "hating business," at all.

The Democrats have been very disciplined and very smart to date. They haven't done ahything too radical, nor have they further polarized the nation by just pulling the funding for the Troops, or instituting impeachment hearings.

Of course, some of that COULD be due to the fact that now some 20% of the Dems in Congress are Conservative "Blue Dogs," like Tester, Webb and others.

Ironically enough, the things I fear with a Democratic majority and a Democratic President are more Liberal judges who'll, like Brennan, Burger and others "legislate from the Bench," and, of course, much higher taxes for working people.

The Dems talk of "the rich" as those earning $200K/yr and over - in places like NY, a school teacher and a cop earn close to, if not over that $200K, as does a firefighter and a nurse. In many places, that standard targets many working families, where both spouses have to work to get by, due to rising rents and housing prices, etc.

I fear that another generation must learn a very painful lesson and many who've already learned it are going to be taken along for the ride.

P.S. An Objectivist huh? So was Alan Greenspan, I believe. I liked Rand's views, but found her books tedious.

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