Fantastic chart, very consistent with my view that politics has been utterly corrupted by dirty corporate money.

If you want to understand why the Banks and investment houses are so influential in DC, why Financial Regulation was so milquetoast (or why Deregulation occurred in the first place), look no further:


click for ginormous chart


Top Corporations Aid U.S. Chamber of Commerce Campaign
NYT, October 21, 2010

Category: Digital Media, Politics, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

73 Responses to “Chamber of Commerce to Buy US Elections”

  1. DeDude says:

    Yet the sheeple appears ready to vote into power the party that blocked legislation to ensure that all these shady non-profits had to disclose who gave them large donations. I guess democracy is not that important to them – until it has been lost.

  2. Alaric says:

    Would be great if there was a chart on the unions, such as SEIU…there is enough money sloshing around on both sides to make everyone unclean…

  3. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    In the final analysis we’ve become a “Nanny State,” and the only way back to True Capitalism is through time. The time it takes to let everyone know that there is no more “fat” left on the hog. If the rest of the world economies keep eating our debt, well then – party on Garth!!!

  4. angelfan says:

    Yes, the corporations are dominant. But it is significant, even amidst their dominance, that according to these numbers alone the Democrats are being outspent almost 2 to 1.

  5. Dow says:

    Alaric, The unions spent $18.5 million out of a total of $201 million. Less than 10%. It’s in the graph.

    I’d like to know how much National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) or Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) have spent.

  6. Alaric says:

    Dow – I thought the unions were going to spend close to $100 million…..(per the link above)…

    It would be great if there was a site which served as a central clearinghouse for this information…..

  7. VennData says:

    Does the World Wide Chamber of Commerce have any mortgage services as part of their global cash generating machine?

  8. louiswi says:

    NOTHING is going to change unless and until we have taxpayer financed election campaigns tightly controlled as to how long in terms of days the campaigns can run and how much taxpayer money tightly defined can be spent by each candidate completely disallowing any contributions by special interest groups, corporations or private citizens.
    As it is, elections are an extraordinary benefit to the media which just loves to have a game very much similar to the Superbowl only lasting much longer and providing significantly greater revenue. The media’s intention is to have a tie game going into the finals. By voting in this enviornment, you only give credence to this sham and gain nothing for your efforts. The best thing the citizens can do is boycott these elections.


    BR: Agreed — the taxpayer financed election campaigns is the way to take the dirty money out of the (corrupted) system . . .

  9. nemo says:

    I was amazed that I had never heard of some of the bigger money pots, such as American Action Network and American Crossroads.

    A little googling reveals the reason I’d never heard of them. They are both very recent creations of Karl Rove. Put American Action Network and American Crossroads together, and Karl Rove directs $15.3 + 12.9 = $28.2 million, making him the Number 2 kingpin on this chart, ahead of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    Apparently American Action Network is also a job creation program for recent Republican losers such as Norm Coleman, former GOP Senator from Minnesota, now the CEO of American Action Network. Fred Malek, Nixon’s one-time Jew hunter, is a board member. I wonder how Fred and Norm get along.

  10. miker says:

    As Senator Dick Durbin said, speaking about the Senate: “Frankly the banks own the place.”

  11. RugbyD says:

    Those number are federal only. Union spending is much larger if you account for total election spend. Bigger still if you include the free labor many members will provide.

    linky to chart:

  12. Chris G says:

    Local and state spends? You mean all of the municiple judges and alderman and dog catchers — that is lots and lots of money, and nearly zero impact on national policy.

    This discussion is about the big corporations affecting national legislation, regulation and tax policy. The union line is pure disinformation

  13. Over the past 30 years, I just don’t see Unions as having much influence compared to corporations.

    They simply are not very influential when it comes to the issues that a) matter to me; b) and factored into the crisis. Think regulatory changes, finance policy, determining bailout monies, swinging Congressional elections.

    Unions have faded in the US, and they do not move the policy needle they way they did in the middle of last century.

  14. Stranded_in_CA says:

    It would explain why the middle-class is rapidly shrinking, wages stagnant for decades and boss class of Wall Street are getting bonuses to the tune of a $144 billion.

    He who has the money makes the rules.

  15. NickAthens says:

    I am sorry but BARRY you lose crediblity trying to minimzie the role of unions in either the current election or over the last 30 years.

    For someone who usually tries to use FACTS, I cannot understand how you can say the over $200 million spent by unions does not have much impact. Is that your wayof saying they are stupid? AFSCME alone is bigger the the Chamber in spending. Even worse where does that $200 million come from, taxpayers of course!

    While I 100% agree about the corporate grift, you seem to deny that the reason we continually see outrageous pensions, pay, benefits, etc etc. in public employees is due to the unions. While you ar eright they are no longer a major factor in the private sector, they have mor than made up with a governemnt employee takeover.

    Even FDR would have deployed this. How about a more honest analysis this time?


    BR: I’ll repeat it again: The unions simply do not move the needle on the policy issues we discuss here. They had zero impact on bank bailouts, they had zero ability to slow the radical deregulation of the past 30 years, they had no impact on the milquetoast finacial reform act. Whether it was the unfunded $2.4 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest amercians (Thanks for that BTW) or a multi trillion dollar war of choice in Iraq, the unions were simply non issues in policy decisions.

    If you can demonstrate where Unions had a significant impact on the major policy issues we discuss here, I’d appreciate seeing that.

  16. FrancoisT says:

    I can’t help laughing when I read about the false comparison between the unions and corporations after Citizens United.

    Just take a look at the 10-Qs of the companies that form the S&P500 index. Isolate the gross profits, then extract, say, 5% of that number. You get a result that totally DWARFS any amount the unions could come up with, hands down. It’s simple math 001.

    Yet, for the mass media and the partisan hacks, it is the most difficult conclusion to reach; it shatters any pretense of false equivalence so cherished by the morally depraved, slothful and mentally challenged mainstream punditocracy from WhoredomLand, a.k.a. Versailles-on-the-Potomac. As for the partisan hacks, they’re paid to avoid understand it.

    Phil Gramm was right and wrong: He was right in saying something mental is going on. He was wrong in stating it was the recession…it is the decay of this country that is mental in nature.

    It always start that way, doesn’t it?

  17. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    While many (most?) of these new PAC groups have managed to shield their donor lists, at least two of them have been identified as each being entirely funded by one person despite trying to appear as though the PAC represented a “grass roots” movement.

    While I don’t know if we’re getting the best government money can buy, it does appear that we’re certainly getting the most expensive elections money can buy.

  18. JT23456 says:

    Yeh, my country makes me wanna puke.

  19. FrancoisT says:


    200 millions spent by the unions? During these mid-terms? Inflation’s raging in your corner of the universe, doesn’t it? The max figure seen anywhere is 100 millions.

    “the reason we continually see outrageous pensions, pay, benefits, etc etc. in public employees is due to the unions.”

    Takes two to tango, buddy. Who’s on the other side of the table? That’s right! Your state and local politicians who truly don’t care how much it’ll cost YOU, since they just want to be re-elected and they will be long gone when the bill come due.

    So, how come you throw the blame solely at the unions They do for their members what corporations do for their shareholders, yet people like you revile the unions 100 times more than corporations. And not a word of blame at the politicians, huh?

    Psychiatrists are starting to worry about the deleterious effect of Fox News. I’d be tempted to lend some credence to their worries, judging by the amount of cognitive dissonance I’m reading here.

  20. willid3 says:

    if i remember correctly unions have to publish their numbers (any expenditures over 5000, or donations too). while we don’t see any thing at all for these groups. i guess we could require both to publish who donated and where they spent it. that way we would have complete transparency. as opposed to one side have some transparency , with other having none. and the one with none seems to be grown up children. they don’t want to publish unless the other side publishes even more. seems like a real childish way to act. i won’t do it unless they do more (or do it. in spite of the fact its published)

  21. bergsten says:

    @GeorgeBurnsWasRight — well, yes he (Nathan Birnbaum) was. But just out of curiosity, do you have any particular “right” in mind?

  22. withere says:

    Gee Barry, Why not a straight apples to apples comparison of spending including money from all sources, including unions? More liberal whining. What about Move on and their ilk? Much of the spending on the left has been institutionalized and is funded by taxpayer dough. When the cash tsunami was going the left’s way a couple years ago there was no complaint from their camp about how unfair it all is.

  23. Arequipa01 says:

    The Union money is trackable, auditable. The nameless funds channeled by the Chamber are not.

    And it matters not a wit because too many love the man holding the whip.

    “The process, called “tax farming,” is simple: A company goes to a local government and reimburses it for taxes that citizens aren’t paying.”

    Legislation allowing this was rolled out in Puerto Rico in 2008. Gotta watch the margins.

    What is coming is utterly nightmarish.

  24. odds says:

    Barry has a rare fail on this one. He rightly points out the chamber story.

    But he completely misses a near identical story on an $87 million spend by government employee unions that ran the same day in the WSJ! Then, he piles on the heap of errors by saying that unions don’t have that much influence.

    WTF? Talk about ignoring facts. What happened Barry? You catch a bad case of confirmation bias?

  25. Mattster says:

    If you want to talk elections, the GOP controlled both houses from 1994 to 2006 (I believe the Dems had the House from 2000-02).

    How then were the mighty union funded Dems somehow overmatched by GOP, funded in large part by (wait for it) corporate donors?

    Unions were very powerful at one time . . . that time is now long past

  26. DanielHess says:

    Barry, you say you are non-partisan, but your posts say something completely different. Y0u have taken to lying to make your points — that is how partisan you are. In fact the top spender of all is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees , running at 87.5 million. That swamps the Chamber by orders of magnitude.

    In an era when public finances are in shambles, this is a disaster for our children. Your radically partisan lies make the world a worse place to live in, Barry. Here’s VC Mike Moritz in the WSJ on public pensions (ht kedrosky):

    “The Phoenix and the Guardian, two antique fireboats moored near the San Francisco Bay Bridge, are operated by a six-person crew from the city’s fire department. A few times a week, the vessels putter about to provide a visiting cruise ship with a watery salute. For this, all of the vessels’ captains and engineers are paid $172,253 a year in salary and benefits and are eligible for a city-paid pension after 20 years. Regardless of whether they take a new job, the pension entitles them to 90% of their annual income, plus annual cost of living adjustments, for the rest of their lives.”


    BR: My focus, if you perchance ever read the blog, is on big macro issues. I dont care about a 6 man firegouse, or the local dog catcher race, or the justice of the peace elections.

    And I don;’t appreciate your accusations or tone. Feel free to hit the bricks,

  27. VennData says:

    Where are the Juan Williams defenders on this restriction of freedom of speech by members of the World Wide Chamber of Commerce?

    “The View” walks off the set… the TV set… the Google TV set. In f act, the whole “line up” walks off the Google TV set.

    The World Wide Chamber of Commerce: helping the people who are screwing you since the 1890′s.

  28. DeDude says:

    “where does that $200 million come from, taxpayers of course”

    And where exactly does the money that banksters use to make sure that they can continue raping this country come from? Amazing how some people can be brainwashed by our corporate media – or are you one of them trying to pawn your crap to this audience?

    Divide and conquer the sheeple, let them think that it is outrageous if public employees are getting decent pay and benefits, then they will forget to be outraged that they are getting lousy pay and benefits in the private sector – and the Wall Street banksters can laugh all the way back to their mansions.

    “i guess we could require both to publish who donated and where they spent it. that way we would have complete transparency”

    Exactly what the democrats proposed and the GOPsters blocked just before congress went home for the elections.

  29. Arequipa01 says:

    “In fact the top spender of all is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees , running at 87.5 million. That swamps the Chamber by orders of magnitude.”

    1) The source of the EVIL union* money is identified.
    2) ‘Swamps’- recourse to metaphorical language reveals a rhetorical ploy which demonstrates the unfounded quality of the assertion.

    In sum, I call ‘caca de toro desde el coco hasta el floro’.

    *Ooga Booga ya g-d-mn crackers, they’re comin’ ta git ya…

    ‘Alaric’ is an interesting moniker to assume. The First was a Goth marauder who sacked Rome. Me, I’m vacillating between Oliver Cromwell and Wesley Merritt.

  30. Kort says:

    As many have pointed out, the chart and the story are 24 hours old and that’s already old news, the Unions have become #1 on non-party spending which would move them from #7 to the top of this chart. And if the Chamber’s $21M was ‘dirty corporate money’, I can’t wait to hear the angst over the ‘clean’(?) union money.

    Further, as for the PUBLIC union money, this comes from PUBLIC employees, into the coffers of the Union leaders who then funnel the money to the candidates they deem worthy. In other words, my TAX DOLLARS are going to fund candidates I may or may not agree with and the candidates they support, more often than not, raise my taxes, which enables more hiring, which enables more union dues, which enables, enables, enables.

  31. RugbyD says:

    @ BR’s 2:03 post

    Barry, public employee unions should matter to you. They don’t have the immediate impact that something like Gramm’s actions have, but as we see in CA and IL, they cause major pain to local populations via incremental taxes, fees, etc. and the possibility of federal bailouts to miscreant states would spread that to to the entire country, including you.


    BR: Once again, this is not really my issue — BUT You have radically OVERSTATED the impact of unions. And, regarding the subject matter of this blog — MARKETS FINANCE ECONOMICS CREDIT CRISIS, RMBS, ETC. they are practically irrelevant.

    As to the half assed contracts towns and cities negotiated by offering low wages but great benefits ? Classic kick the can down the road errors. And now that the day of reckoning has arrived, they want a do over.

    I do find the disregard for contract rights are an ugly thing to behold.

  32. DeDude says:

    Unions are #1 if we combine them all into one as if they were one entity – and make sure not to combine all the individual corporate pimp organizations into one. Do you think this is a 2′nd grade class?

  33. DeDude says:

    “PUBLIC union money, this comes from PUBLIC employees”

    You sure do love big gobinment if the salary of a person working for the public is public money. I guess then the profit of a company doing business with the public is also “public money”? But somehow money that Wall Street banksters use to get their little sock puppets elected is not public money?

  34. DeDude says:

    Amazing how twisted peoples arguments can become when they start with a conclusion and then desperately search reality to find support for it.

  35. DanielHess says:

    I am a member of a public union and I am a little embarrassed about it.

    My agency rolls over and gives our union too much, because its not their money at stake.

    I am afraid that a decade from now all my friends will feel resentful toward me for what public unions have done.

  36. Thor says:

    Let’s see here. The Chamber of Commerce has fought for free trade for how many decades now? They are primarily interested in one thing and one thing only – profit. These are the folks sending all of our jobs overseas.

    Meanwhile, the unions have fought this move tooth and nail every step of the way.

    I’ll take the unions over The Chamber of Commerce any day of the week.

    What? What’s that you say? It’s the unions who are forcing all those jobs overseas because of their greed and laziness? yeah yeah, I’ve heard that party line before, I don’t buy it.

  37. louiswi says:

    So like I was saying earlier—-the media keeps the game alive until the breathtaking finale. You are all wasting your time and your breath perpetuating this nonsense.

  38. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.

    The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats’ hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.

    “We’re the big dog,” said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME’s political operations. “But we don’t like to brag.”

    BR: The subject you posted on was campaign spending, so please quit bitching when people point out that unions, particularly public sector unions, spend a bit of dough on politics, too. Unless the fascist propagandists at the WSJ now completely disregard facts for dogma, the simple fact is that the AFSCME is the “big dog”. (Glad he doesn’t like to brag.) I might also point out that unions, being organizations of people and not capital, generally have more votes to sell than do corporations. Dollars can buy votes, but they can’t actually do the voting. It takes people for that.

  39. maddog2020 says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m a little slow and don’t have time to read either the NYT or WSJ article right now.

    Can some one with a clearer head (and an ability to read) tell us where the order of magnitude of difference in AFSCME spending reported by the NYT (7.9 mil) and the WSJ (87 mil) comes from? How did the authors of these two different stories come up with numbers that differ by a factor of 10? Federal elections vs. local? What else?

  40. Equityval says:

    Private sector unions may not move the needle the way they used to so your comment may be right in that regard. But to ignore the power of public sector unions is naive. They OWN the statehouses in most big states. They are the reason why all these states face eventual insolvency and why the pension and benefits schemes are utterly non workable. Their influence is massive.

  41. The WSJ shows the Chamber of Commerce as spending $75 million, over three times as the New York Times. Something screwy’s afoot. Somebody’s either lying or has really screwed the factual pooch. Or, perhaps, this is just a perfect example of MSM bias, on both sides of the liberal/conservative divide.

  42. BR sounds like a great time to interview an in the trenches political operative, because your take on the impact of unions is not complete. All that money goes to buy stuff and services. And unions can give incredible support at every level to get people elected, from a 200 person phone bank, door to poll shuttles, door knocking, all that get out the vote stuff that makes elections. You can pay for some of it but you can’t buy the passion or the quality And it just trickles up till it influences who has an easier chance of getting elected at the highest levels.

  43. DL says:

    Unions did quite well in the various so-called “stimulus” bills that Obama signed.

    As for those “evil” corporations, I’m not at all convinced that they’re doing much harm to the economy (at least with respect to corporations outside of the financial sector).


    BR: Can you do basic math?

    How’d the unions do compared to the corporate welfare/bailout monies Banks and Wall Street got? Seriously, the comparison is laughable, and you look silly even suggesting pocket change somehow can be discussed in the same sentence as trillions of dollars. Do you really want to compare dollar for dollar who got what on the Federal level?

  44. DeDude says:

    The source for NYT is Federal Election Commission so my guess is that we are talking about reported spending (and reports are somewhat delayed from actual spending). The WSJ with its usual bias has to be carefully analyzed they give two sources AFSCME and Center for Responsive Politics so it is likely an apples to oranges comparision. The AFSCME number is likely a stated goal for final spending when all is done. The other entities (numbers from CRP) is likely reported funds raised although it could be something else (WSJ is not clear about that). The NYT is at least an apples to apples comparison with no fuzzy math or obscuring. But they sure are effective with their divide and conquer the sheeple, as demonstrated in this debate.

  45. DL says:

    I like the title of this segment:

    “Chamber of Commerce to Buy US Elections”

    I’m really not sure what that means in races where the incumbent is a well-known Democrat.
    Take, for example, the Senate race in Washington State, or California, or Nevada. In each case, the incumbent is very well known. What exactly is the Chamber of Commerce money going to buy in those cases? Is Nancy Pelosi going to lose her race because the Chamber of Commerce is financing TV ads that tell the voters of San Francisco something they don’t already know about her?

  46. DeDude says:

    “As for those “evil” corporations, I’m not at all convinced that they’re doing much harm to the economy”

    No I guess cutting peoples salaries and benefits so the consumer class gets impoverished does not do much harm to an economy that is 70% consumption. Shipping jobs to other countries can’t possibly be bad for the economy either. No its definitely the unions with their refusal to let the remaining middle class jobs be wiped out so we can get that wonderful third world economy instated here.

  47. DeDude says:

    The amazing thing is that the rich cannot see that they are actually ramming that double-barreled shotgun up their own dumb a$$es. When they are done destroying the middle class and have ensured that we look like a third world nation with the top 1% having 99% of the income and 99% of the assets, they will find that the pie has shrunk to such a small size that even they are worse off.

  48. Dow says:

    Unions did quite well in the various so-called “stimulus” bills that Obama signed.

    Let’s take a moment and re-work that sentence of yours.

    Middle class workers did quite well in the various so-called “stimulus” bills that Obama signed.

    Really? With unemployment reported at 9.8% and unofficial rates pegging it closer to 22%, you think workers are rolling in it?

  49. DeDude says:

    Cutting that 9.5 trillion of our 14 trillion GDP that is consumption down to a survival level of 1 trillion for the sheeple plus 1 trillion for the multimillionaires, will leave a pretty serious hole in the economy. As the consumer class goes, so goes the country.

  50. ACS says:

    I recently came across the following line in a novel. It perfectly describes contemporary American politics and is particularly poignant given the slogan of the last presidential winner. “… if we want things to stay as they are, then things will have to appear to change.” Donna Leon.

  51. Scott F says:

    I’ve been hearing the union issue for a few Qs now, and I find it to be a red herring.

    The cluster fucks of the past decade or two were all corporate

    -The bank bailouts
    -The Financial crisis, housing collapse and credit freeze
    -Deregulation of Oil companies and the BP gulf screw up
    -The no bid contractors in Iraq (plus the missing $10 billion in cash)
    -The brewing structured product disaster

    All of the above is the result of big firms having their way with regulatory environment, access to taxpayer monies, courtesy of their bought and paid for Congressional critters,

    The folks who are focused on Unions, are living in the last century . . .

  52. DL says:

    Dedude @ 5:56

    Yes, corporations do fire people. Sometimes large numbers of them. And yes, U.S. multinational companies make significant investments in other countries, and hire people there. But I’m not sure how that is supposed to relate to the issue at hand. If people were given a choice between a candidate who has received funding from a multinational corporation, and one who has not, what is the benefit of voting for the candidate who has not received the funding? If the Congress were filled with politicians who had eschewed funding from multinational corporations (and let’s leave financial companies out of this, for now), would Congress then force the multinationals to stop firing U.S. workers; would they force multinationals to stop investing money in other countries?

  53. baldski says:

    Yes, Yes, keep up the good work you right wingnuts! Demonize the Unions who gave you healthcare, vacations, and the forty hour week. Let’s go back to the 19th century where you can revel in your robber baron brilliance at causing the great divide in the American people so the oligarchs can rule. Divide and conquer. It’s as old as Caesar.

  54. Patrick Neid says:

    George Soros spends more than the Chamber in an afternoon. The unions are weak? Strong enough to leave us all with 3 trillion in unfunded pensions that their puppet masters in state and federal governments gave them–mostly Dems. Seems to me their 200 million spent over 30 years has had a good return.


    BR: Can you find some data to support your allegations about Soros? And 3 trillion in unfunded pensions — what are you referring to ?

  55. Dennis the menace says:

    Please do me a favor — go through the comments, and put anyone who is obviously full of crap, is a a hack, obnoxious and rude, or is playing idiot games into moderated comments status.

    Either that, or get a plug in that allows readers to avoid people below a specific IQ.

    Anytime you post anything sleightly politically related, it brings out the crazies and the wingnuts

  56. DL says:

    Apparently, 49 of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate have taken foreign money

    Also (in the Senate) Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray and Kirsten Gillibrand have each accepted over $100,000 from subsidiaries of foreign companies.

    So, perhaps Republican politicians aren’t the only evil ones.

  57. Permabear says:

    The Citizens United Supreme Court decision will go down in history as one of the worst in the history of the nation. The right wing extremists on the Supreme Court have changed American politics forever. Money rules.

  58. maspablo says:

    Well , i do agree the unions are a problem . I feel its more , that they look out for current members than , focusing on realistic growth and a prosperous future .

    the auto bailout helped 300,000 workers directly retain jobs paying (50k-100k) , with multiplier of 10 times that
    The bank bailout was 5-7 times the cost of the auto bailout , but thats great cause most of the $ went to these people

    but , most of my working class friends were more upset with the auto bailout , the banks bailouts were fine cause its over most peoples head .
    we already are divided , and ignorance has us conquered !

  59. JerseyCynic says:

    list of trade unions and federations by country:

    good lawdy miss clawdy!! check out the number of unions in finland…

    ?Union of Finnish Speech Therapists?

    Speaking of Finland, I hear they’re pretty happy over there

  60. DeDude says:

    @DL 10:18,

    I am not that optimistic. But if we elected people who were less dependent on funding from multinationals then maybe we could get rid of subsidies to companies that export jobs to other countries. Now if we could get liberal democrats in all seat of both houses then we might be able to stop this destructive thing called free trade and stop sending all our wealth to other countries. A healthy import tax is a benefit for a country with huge trade deficits and high unemployment.

  61. I love analyzing Rhetoric — how you argue says so much about the strength of your argument.

    In response to the accusation that the Chamber of Commerce is funneling huge corporate donations to buy elections, we see several distinct responses — unions are bad! Democrats take foreign money! Unfunded pension plans!

  62. Greg0658 says:

    FrancoisT I’m with ya on that national “Idiocracy”

    but I mostly tracked down my login password again to say:
    Union money spent on elections = after taxes, take-home pay, personal & household cash
    Corporate cash = before taxes, brought-in cash from ALL OF US, whether we like it or not .. and thats before shareholder dividends too (for the Homers)

  63. Greg0658 says:

    Equityval at 5:21pm .. point taken .. I do think they are providing the substructure that our democracy and capital entities wish . generally … kick the can down the road retirement capital storage promises gonna wreak havoc … capital knows that … but back on topic “control of the governmnet is the prize” to aquire .. at our cost either way

    pss .. net-neutrality is the prize to protect and is (should be) the wave of coming elections
    as per louiswi on 10/22nd@1:46 pm

    psss .. worker pay inequality !@! the union negotiated scale / minimum wage / underground scale / superstar scale … thats is what ALL this is about
    2010MidtermVote = Capital vs. Labor

    pssss .. maspablo @ 1:43am .. good points
    a point I’d like to see take hold in America these days .. money goes round’n’round and everyone gets to suckle its nector .. until when ? until it exports

  64. DL says:

    Ritholtz @ 5:33:

    I can do math. But in my 5:33 post, I specifically excluded financial companies. I’m not trying to debate you over companies in the financial sector. I’m raising questions about corporations OUTSIDE the financial sector.

    Again, OUTSIDE the financial sector.

  65. Andy T says:

    A partisan Post will elicit partisan responses.

    Unfortunately, that’ s what these Comments sections have devolved into the last several months. Your biggest supporters in these comments section are very left leaning liberal folks. Nothing wrong with this–”it is what is.” Just don’t be surprised with a comments section full of partisan comments from both the left and right.

    ‘Tis the season….

  66. Patrick Neid says:


    “Bailing out state pensions would be astronomically expensive. According to a Pew Foundation estimate this year, the total unfunded liabilities of the 50 states’ pension funds amounted to about $1 trillion in 2008. Another recent study, by Josh Rauh of Northwestern and Robert Novy-Marx of the Chicago Booth School of Business, estimated that the unfunded liability was closer to $3 trillion. Adding the liabilities of municipal pension funds makes the total even larger.”

    Soros spending during 2003-04 from wikipedia….

    In an interview with The Washington Post on November 11, 2003, Soros said that removing President George W. Bush from office was the “central focus of my life” and “a matter of life and death.” He said he would sacrifice his entire fortune to defeat President Bush, “if someone guaranteed it.”[38] Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $2.5 million to, and [39] to America Coming Together. These groups worked to support Democrats in the 2004 election. On September 28, 2004 he dedicated more money to the campaign and kicked off his own multi-state tour with a speech: Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush[40] delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The online transcript to this speech received many hits after Dick Cheney accidentally referred to as “” in the Vice Presidential debate, causing the owner of that domain to redirect all traffic to Soros’s site.[41]

    Soros was not a large donor to US political causes until the 2004 presidential election, but according to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the 2003-2004 election cycle, Soros donated $23,581,000 to various 527 groups dedicated to defeating President Bush. A 527 group is a type of American tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 527. Despite Soros’ efforts, Bush was reelected to a second term as president.

    After Bush’s re-election, Soros and other donors backed a new political fundraising group called Democracy Alliance, which supports progressive causes and the formation of a stronger progressive infrastructure in America.[42] Soros supported the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which many hoped would end “soft money” contributions to federal election campaigns.[citation needed] Soros has made soft money donations to 527 organizations that he says do not raise the same corruption issues as donations directly to the candidates or political parties
    Jane Mayer
    …..”Of course, Democrats give money, too. Their most prominent donor, the financier George Soros, runs a foundation, the Open Society Institute, that has spent as much as a hundred million dollars a year in America. Soros has also made generous private contributions to various Democratic campaigns, including Obama’s.

  67. deaner66 says:

    I’m a UPS driver and a Teamster since 1984. Now, I can’t speak to the public sector unions, but in these past 26 years, I have never seen my union make any significant role in affecting politics, both local and national. Laugh if you want, but at the ground level, the influence of unions is negligible.

    Sure, it might–MIGHT–sway some people when the Teamsters endorse a presidential candidate, but even that doesn’t really mean a whole lot on the shop floor. The members of our union are no different than any other walk of life. We have many conservatives and Republicans on the shop floor that pay union dues. That is frustrating–not because they are Republican–but because they vote against their own interests.

    We have excellent medical insurance because the union has fought for them through the years. And many of our conservative members throw caution to the wind when they vote for anti-union politicians. Do they really think the Republicans will favor our benefits and pay? Somehow they do.

    The point is, the unions are a dinosaur, and they will never buy influence the way a corporation can and will. That is why it drove me nuts when conservatives insisted that the Citizens United case would give unions “free speech” along with corporations.

    In the nineties, Bill Clinton pushed NAFTA through even though the Teamsters fought him tooth and nail on it every step of the way. And Clinton got his way. Why?

    Because Clinton knew he was the choice for the unions that were fighting him. What were they going to do, endorse Bob Dole? No, they weren’t.

    In the end, the politicians treated unions just like they treat the AARP. They throw a proverbial bone to them, and to us, every now and them, but their favor leans to the organization that fills their basket with the most eggs. And very few unions can empty out the coffers to win elections. They simply don’t have the money that corporations do.

  68. MakingtheDrop says:

    People really only want two things: 1) To look good 2) To be “right”
    Anything that threatens one’s sense of self becomes the “enemy,” and the point of focus
    There’s a lot of cold hard data on where the cold hard cash is flowing, and this makes a lot of (if not most) people look “not good” and downright “wrong” however you choose to label yourself.
    I’ll take French Fries over “Freedom Fries” any day. America has no more “sack!”
    It’s the Corporation vs the human beings folks, and looks like we’re going to have to wait until we humans look “really bad” to start “sacking back up” and getting back to looking “really right” again.

  69. Andy T says:

    BR: Your comment to Patrick Neid’s assertions (11.43pm) seems to have been answered by P. Neid at 1.17 pm.

    Just pointing that out…..

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