Monday, April 23, 2012
This isn’t quite what was supposed to happen. When the Supreme Court handed down its five-to-four Citizens United decision in 2010, pre-vetting Mitt Romney’s credo that “corporations are people,” apocalyptic Democrats, including Obama, predicted that the election would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the likes of Chevron and General Electric. But publicly traded, risk-averse corporations still care more about profits than partisanship. They tend to cover their bets by giving to both parties. And they are fearful of alienating customers and investors. Witness, most recently, the advertisers who fled Rush Limbaugh, or the far bigger brands (McDonald’s and Wendy’s, Coke and Pepsi) that severed ties with the conservative lobbying mill responsible for pushing state “stand your ground” laws like the one used to justify the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. While corporations and unions remain serious players in the campaign of 2012, their dollars don’t match those of the sugar daddies, who can and do give as much as they want to the newfangled super-PACs.
Sugar daddies—whom I’ll define here as private donors or their privately held companies writing checks totaling $1 million or more (sometimes much more) in this election cycle—are largely a Republican phenomenon, most of them one degree of separation from Karl Rove and his unofficial partners in erecting a moneyed shadow GOP, David and Charles Koch. At last look, there were 25 known sugar daddies on the right (or more, if you want to count separately the spouses and children who pitch in). You’ve likely heard of Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas tycoon who is Benjamin Netanyahu’s unofficial ambassador to the GOP. But you may be less familiar with Irving Moskowitz, the bingo entrepreneur who funnels his profits into East Jerusalem settlements. Or Robert Mercer, the hedge-fund master of “flash trading” who poured a clandestine $1 million into ads attacking the “ground-zero mosque” and nearly another $3 million into a scale-model railroad in his Long Island mansion. Or Steven Lund, the co-founder of Nu Skin, which became “direct selling” sponsor of the Romney-run 2002 Winter Olympics after having spent much of the nineties settling complaints over false advertising and other unscrupulous practices with the Federal Trade Commission and six different states’ attorneys general.
This should be a wake-up call to the supporters of this President. If Obama were a Republican this stat would be used against him. But it seems that the left has been drinking the cool aid and refuse to see reality for what it is. President Obama serves the interest of big business. He's proven that over and over again. Don't be fooled any longer.
Obviously China has been a place of radical institutional change to effectively transform its economy in a mere 30 years, from a poverty-stricken political backwater to a global economic powerhouse. Certainly China has been a country that used the blunt edges of government – heavy investment, government protections and cheap labor – to attract companies from overseas and to grow its own sectors, yet it has worked, quite effectively.
In the United States, it has been anathema to call for a deeper interplay between government and corporate America. While China sets an industrial goal and provides the appropriate policies and assistance to reach it, the U.S. government invests little energy in industrial policy and frequently must be cajoled into investing in new science and technology research.
Almost all major sectors in the United States that have become powerful industries have had some level of support from the government. This is not unfair treatment to be challenged in the World Trade Organization. It is smart capitalism to be emulated. The reality is that building industries – particularly fledgling industries with uncertain markets – requires early investment, an investment risk that the government alone is capable of bearing.
As a nation, the United States needs to think deeply about how best to develop new industries to rebuild its economy. Information technology, biotechnology and renewable energy are critical areas of opportunity. While China is struggling to catch up with the West on information technology and biotechnology, it has made great leaps in the area of renewable energy. China is rapidly moving ahead of the United States and Europe on the development of renewable energy products, despite the fact the technologies are often created here in the United States. Why? The Chinese government aggressively supports renewable energy compared to the U.S. government. China invested some tens of billions in renewable energy.
China’s investment in new industries explains many of the recent defections of U.S. companies to China. Unlike the United States, China perceives the benefit, and, more importantly, the necessity of public-private partnerships to grow and sustain industries today.
Open government advocates accused a conservative legislative group Monday of falsely claiming tax-exempt status while doing widespread lobbying.
Advocacy group Common Cause said Monday it had filed an IRS complaint accusing ALEC of masquerading as a public charity. ALEC is formed as a nonprofit that brings together lawmakers and private sector organizations to develop legislation and policy.
ALEC says its work is not lobbying.
Common Cause disagrees. "It tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, in a statement. "ALEC is not entitled to abuse its charitable tax status to lobby for private corporate interests, and stick the bill to the American taxpayer."