Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shooting yourself in the foot

Corporate America is frequently accused (by the left) of watching out for its own interests, of ignoring its larger responsibilities to the American people and the country in which they live.

But today's Opinion Journal provides a new twist on that accusation: corporate America has decided that Democrats will control the legislative and executive branches after 2008, so they're giving money hand over fist to the Democrats. Not because they want the Dems to win. Not because they agree with the Democrats' agenda. But because they don't want Congressional doors slammed in their faces if the GOP drops off the face of the earth.

In other words, they're watching out for the own interests by helping to elect people who are intent on opposing the very interests they hold as most important. Can you say "myopic"?

The article by Stephen Moore notes that "85% of the donations from Roll Call newspaper's top-20 list of corporate lobbyists" is going to the Democrats, and overall corporate contributions are swinging away from the GOP to the Democrats.

Part of the reasoning behind the shift is corporate discomfort with the GOP's spending restraint (or lack thereof), and some cite the party's social-issue positions. But part of the issue is also the Democrats' strong-arm tactics. As one telecom industry lobbyist noted, "I've never felt the squeeze that we're under now to give to Democrats and to hire them. They've put out the word that if you have an issue on trade, taxes, or regulation, you'd better be a donor and you'd better not be part of any effort to run ads against our freshmen incumbents."

And the corporate interests are capitulating. As former House Majority Leader Dick Armey told Moore, "the business groups are simply not ideological givers. They give to buy access and to minimize risk."

But the business groups are shooting themselves in the foot. As Moore notes in the article:
  • Should [Democrats] win the White House they'll raise tax rates, pursue a trade protectionist policy under the guise of "fair trade," and enact as much of Big Labor's wish list as they can, from doing away with secret ballots in union certification elections to piling on more labor, environmental and health regulations.
  • Last spring, Democratic Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said he wanted to more than double the tax on private equity and hedge-fund managers, which could cost this industry up to $6 billion a year. Yet...Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and UBS are all giving about two-thirds of their dollars to Democrats this cycle.
  • One hedge-fund manager told Moore that Sen. Charles Schumer of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called him and said, "I can make your problems go away." Of course, Moore adds, the Democrats created the problems.
  • High-tech companies depend for their existence on policies such as free trade, low capital-gains taxes, a tax-free Internet. But employees at firms like Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and IBM give most of their money to the party largely opposed to these policies.
Of course, if corporations wouldn't give all that money, maybe their expectation that the Dems will win in 2008 wouldn't be so likely. But all that apparently matters to corporate America is that it stay friends with government. Never mind that a government led by the Democratic Party will never reciprocate.


  • At 10/19/2007 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just imagine if those hundreds of millions given by big business to the DNC had been given to the Libertarian Party instead...

    I mean, if business actually wanted to elect pro-business people, shouldn't they be doing that?


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