Since Buying This Election Didn’t Work, Will Big Business Give Up on Buying Elections?

NOPE, argues Robert Reich: “You see, if and when they eventually win, these billionaires will clean up. Their taxes will plummet, many of laws constraining their profits (such environmental laws preventing the Koch brothers from more depredations, and the anti-bribery Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that Adelson is being investigated for violating) will disappear, and what’s left of labor unions will no longer intrude on their bottom lines. And they have enough dough to keep betting until they eventually win. That’s what it means to be a billionaire political investor: You’re able to keep playing the odds until you get the golden ring.”

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4 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#22)

Ridiculous, though. They’d have to buy elections, year after year, to stuff all three branches with business-cronies. It’s not like one election is enough to suddenly remake the legislature.

@deepomega You may have seen this study where the return on lobbying for one particular policy was 22,000%. More broadly, lobbying tends to be a good investment — see this economist article. The most common kind of lobbying is still specific interest groups lobbying for seemingly small regulatory changes that net them hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, while hurting the general public even more.

The “plan” isn’t so much to institute a full-on business-ocracy but rather to gradually chip away at the apparatus of government. Each small change may seem minor — a few more toxic emissions here, a slightly weaker building code there, a small percentage decrease in tax rates for the wealthy — but collectively they do amount to an attack on the institutions that are supposed to protect the public interest.

The cumulative effects over time are huge, both in terms of benefits accrued by the very wealth and in terms of damage to the social fabric. Only a vigorous state can defend society against this kind of long-term war of attrition.

@deepomega Also I think many people would argue with your characterization that all three branches of government are NOT currently stuffed with “business cronies.” Buying a member of congress is cheap compared to the benefits they can deliver for a large company or a particular industry.

Quufer (#2,754)

That’s sorta exactly what has happened…

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