fresh voices from the front lines of change







Their opponents shouldn’t be too quick to call Republicans “crazy.” It makes more sense to employ that time-honored investigative principle: Follow the money. Sure, they’ve said crazy things — in their speeches and in their official platform. But crazy?

Like a fox.

Take that “we built it” theme. Sure, they’re lying about a selectively-edited phrase for political advantage. But why this particular phrase? Because the President was defending government’s role in building America’s infrastructure, educating its children, and improving its technology.

They don’t want those things anymore. The argument fell on deaf ears because GOP isn’t really the “party of business.” It’s the the party of mega-business, of globalized multinational corporations. Those corporations don’t need America any more. They don’t need its roads, they don’t need its technology, and they certainly don’t need its educated middle-class workforce.

(See “An Old Industrial Era”: GOP Platform Mocks Blue-Collar America, Declares It Dead.)

It’s time to follow the money.

Money Source: Bankers

The rapid rise in the abuse of (c)(4) organization has allowed corporations and the mega-wealthy to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into election campaigns without revealing their identity. The Romney campaign has refused to follow Obama’s lead by revealing the names of its “bundlers.” But thanks to the efforts of the Sunlight Foundation, USA Today and others we know that 25 percent of them are Wall Street types who include:

Steve Schwarzman, who notoriously compared taxing bilionaire hedge funders like himself the same way we tax teachers or firefighters to Hitler’s invasion of Poland — an invasion which resulted in the deaths of men, women and children in concentration camps;

Daniel Loeb, the self-entitled whiner we called the “Robespierre of the hedge fund revolution” after he issued an “investor letter” in which he described hedge fund billionaires as exploited “labor,” a persecuted minority, and the victims of socialist-style wealth distribution — which, as he fails to mentioned, somehow resulted in increased wealth inequity;

Bill Harrison, who engineered the creation of too-big-to-fail JPMorgan Chase and recently made an inept attempt to defend megabanks like his own Frankensteinian creation;

Executives from repeat corporate lawbreakers like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, along with representatives from morally compromised and scandal-ridden accounting firms. (See When Accountants Go Bad: Scandal-Plagued Firms Turn Out For Romney); and,

An executive from Barclays, the bank which has now admitted to illegal rate-fixing in the LIBOR scandal.

Their Money’s Worth: The Bankers

Are these bankers and their fellow-travelers getting their money’s worth?

A Republican President appointed Republican economist Ben Bernanke to run the Federal Reserve, only to have the Fed double down on policy that makes the rich richer at everyone else’s expense. (Yes, Obama reappointed Bernanke. We’ll get to that during their convention.)

The “financial sector” — that is, Wall Street — had a great recovery from the Great Recession, thanks to the American people, while the rest of the country remains mired in an ongoing depression which Wall Street created. And it’s once again capturing a greater share of this nation’s profits, squeezing out productive businesses that create jobs:


(via Business Insider)

Looks like something’s working. Bankers contribute to both parties, but lately most of their love is going one way: to the GOP.

Money Source: Billionaires

Non-banking billionaires contributed to the war-chest too.New GOP-backed bills — and more importantly, GOP-appointed judges – have allowed billionaires to keep on giving enormous sums of money to their cause once they’ve reached the official limit for campaign contributions. So far SuperPACs have raised nearly a quarter of a billion dollars from wealthy individuals for this year’s election. And nearly 60 percent of that money came from just 47 people.

It’s the finest election money can buy.

Big billionaire donors include Sheldon Adelson, Bob Perry, the Crow brothers, and assorted members of the Marriott family.

And for those of you who were worried that the bankers and billionaires might have been inconvenienced by God’s wrath toward the GOP convention, you’ll be relieved to know that the bundlers all got together for a nice yacht party.

Like they say down South: They’re just folks.

Their Money’s Worth: Billionaires

Are they getting their money’s worth? Take a look at this table from William Domhoff:


The richest Americans have most of their wealth in business assets, financial securities, trusts, stocks and mutual funds, and non-home real estate. The vast majority of the population has its assets in bank accounts, home value, and pension accounts.

This table shows clearly that the Republican Party (along with a number of Democrats) is pushng policies that increase the assets of the wealthy, while at the same time fighting laws or regulations that protect everyone else’s. They’re fighting to keep capital gains taxes low and reduce even them further when it’s now been proven that these cuts don’t create jobs.

In any given year the country’s 400 highest-income households earn between four and nine times as much of their income from capital gains as they do from salaries. They, along with other wealthy GOP backers, are benefiting from tax policies on everything from inherited wealth to unearned income.

And all those “hawkish” cuts avoid harming the business interests that make the wealthy even wealthier. They’re targeted toward Medicare, assistance for low-income households, and anything else that can lighten the 1 percent’s tax load without cutting into its profits.

Money Source: Big Corporations

In addition, every big corporation in the country has one, as do most corporate special interests, and SuperPACs collect from a variety of high-income sources.

High-dollar bankrollers for the GOP include the defense industry (surprisingly exempt from its supposed “hawkish” anti-spending stance), drug companies, and outsourcing corporations.

Then there’s the US Chamber of Commerce, which receives preferential (c)(6) tax treatment while boasting that it provides political cover to unpopular corporate causes. The ugly causes it supports include bribery (through its attacks on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), child labor (through its promotion of Uzbek cotton sales and other goods), totalitarian Communist workforces (through its Shanghai and other chapters), and environmental destruction (through its defense against the authority of Ecuadorian courts).

If Evil ever forms its own corporation, it will know where to go for lobbying.

The Chamber overwhelmingly supports Republicans. (It endorsed only one Democrat in 2010, and didn’t give him any money.) The New York Times reports that it spent nearly $90 million on lobbying, employing 98 internal lobbyists and 90 others through outside firms. It’s also closely allied with the anti-democratic, anti-union organization known as “ALEC.” The Chamber gets most of its funding from a few sources, and overwhelmingly from large corporations. Its positions on a variety of issues are routinely described as “extremist” — and it has enormous influence on the GOP.

This year outside sources have already been responsible for $167.5 million in campaign spending, as of last report, of which $12.7 million was “secret” or “dark” money that can’t be traced to its source.

(No wonder Republicans killed a law that would have required more transparency in campaign finance.)

Their Money’s Worth: Corporations

The GOP is the ultra-large-business party. It uses rhetoric about “small entrepreneurs” and “individual initiative” to disguise the fact that is policies support the giant corporations which are crushing individual entrepreneurs, Mom and Pop operations, and start-up companies.

In fact, when President Obama offered to cut $28 million from the Small Business Administration (wrongly, in our opinion) that wasn’t enough for the GOP. House Speaker John Boehner immediately demanded another $100 billion in cuts.

The big-corporation bias explains language which says that “regulation should be a helpful guide, not a punitive threat.” That’ll stop the outlaws! There’s even stranger language which speaks of “lawmaking agencies,” the “overcriminalization of behavior,” and the “Federalization of offenses.”

Translation: They want the Federal government stripped of its ability to regulate business or punish rogue corporations. They want to roll back the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 which gave modern agencies their powers, leaving the Federal government powerless to protect us from the depredations of the GOP’s corporate sponsors.

Romney’s proposed oil and gas policies are following the money from that industry, too.

Meanwhile, new loopholes and tax breaks are leaving corporations paying less of their fair share than at any time in modern memory:


You can call all of this disgusting, or venal, or corrupt. But crazy? Not on your life. Critics should stop describing it that way and start calling it what it really is: the prostitution of democracy to the highest bidder.

(See also: With Ryan’s Speech, Republicans Have Finally Found Their “New Idea”)

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