At Townhall, Jonah Goldberg points out that big business supported Obama 2 to 1 against McCain, because it hoped to cash in at taxpayer expense:
It’s worth remembering that Obama was the preferred candidate of Wall Street, and the industry gave to Democrats by a 2-1 margin at the beginning of last year. The top business donor to Democrats in 2008 was Goldman Sachs, and nearly 75 cents out of every dollar of Goldman’s political donations from 2006 to 2008 went to Democrats. Few can gainsay the investment, given how well Goldman Sachs has done under the Obama administration.
It’s not just Wall Street. Obama led in fundraising from most big business sectors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Aside from the desire to back the winner, and the cultural liberalness of East and West Coast plutocrats, why did Obama get so much support from precisely the constituency he demonizes?
Because it was good business. A host of big corporations bet that the much-vaunted Obama era would materialize. For instance, nearly 30 major corporations and environmental groups invested in Obama’s promise to force the American economy into a new cap-and-trade system via the United States Climate Action Partnership (CAP).
Whatever the benefits of such a scheme for the economy and environment as a whole, these corporations, led by General Electric, were looking simply to cash in on government policies. GE, which makes many wind, solar and nuclear doodads that would be profitable under “cap-and-trade,” was poised to make billions if Obama succeeded in seizing control of the “carbon economy.” GE is still protecting its bet, but after the failure in Copenhagen, the “climategate” scandals and perhaps most significantly, that implosion of Obama’s new progressive era, several heavyweights — Caterpillar, BP and ConocoPhillips — have pulled out of CAP, with rumors that more will follow. There are similar rumblings of discontent within the ranks of PhRMA, the trade association for the pharmaceutical industry, which had cut an $80 billion deal with the White House last year for its support of ObamaCare, only to see the whole thing unravel.
The lesson here is fairly simple: Big business is not “right wing,” it’s vampiric. It will pursue any opportunity to make a big profit at little risk. Getting in bed with politicians is increasingly the safest investment for these “crony capitalists.” But only if the politicians can actually deliver. The political failures of the Obama White House have translated into business failures for firms more eager to make money off taxpayers instead of consumers.
That’s good news. The bad news will be if the Republicans once again opt to be the cheap dates of big business. For years, the GOP defended big business in the spirit of free enterprise while businesses never showed much interest in the principle themselves. Now that their bet on the Democrats has crapped out, it’d be nice if they stopped trying to game the system and focused instead on satisfying the consumer.
Go back and read the title of this post. Then read this, to which I’ve linked before. Ignore the reviews, pro and con, and just take it on its own terms… and see if you can refute the history. I think you can’t.
There hasn’t been a “free market” in the USA for sometime. The government’s power to tax and regulate, and to give tax breaks and regulatory exceptions, is the reason there is so much lobbying in the Beltway. It could not have been otherwise, once corporate taxes got high, and the regulation of business became one of the chief functions of government. The merry-go-round career path of government “service” to lobbyist, and often back to government “service,” is the biggest indicator of this. The essential role of a lobbyist in the modern world is to figure out who should get the money that the lobbyist’s principals have to donate.
When big business couldn’t count on government to help it get captive markets, and to restrain competitors, it had to compete for consumers on the basis of price and quality. That’s why Rockefeller kept cutting the price of kerosene in the 19th century, not exactly an act of violence against the consumers of the day.
It’s unfortunate that so many people still believe that we live in a “free market” economy and that “the market” is the cause for so much economic woe today. But we have had a “mixed economy” that often crossed the line into “crony capitalism” or just plain “state capitalism” (especially in time of war), for over a century. The government is by far the most responsible for our current economic mess. The lobbyists of big business (the johns) wouldn’t have any place to spend their money if politicians weren’t pimping themselves out. Those lobbyists are often the ones who write campaign finance law and regulations.
It’s simple. If big business didn’t think it was going to get something out of it, why would it donate so much money to politicians? And more particularly, why did it give so much to Obama?
Let’s hope that if the Republicans do get some power back, they don’t blow it this time.