Cause and Effect --

Discussion in 'Politics' started by flacaltenn, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Leftists, Libertarians and MOST Conservatives agree.. There is an increasing amount of corporate/govt collusion. And the one demand that we're hearing from the OWS "officials" is to get the corporate money out of Washington..

    But there's are 2 sides to the collusion. There's the increasing ability and propensity for Washington to meddle in market details. And the power to pick winners and stomp on losers. Then there is the money that comes from corporate interests to fund or reward politicians to bend influence their way. But which is the CAUSE -- and which is the EFFECT?

    That -- we can't agree on. Seems obvious that even if all corporate cash were banished tomorrow that any number of proxy methods could be used to obtain GOVT power and influence. As in the Solyndra case, the influence came from individuals and investors -- not the corporation. And it's clear to me in that case that the POWER and abuse of position in GOVT was the CAUSE of that collusion..

    There isn't even much PROOF that corporate cash has the influence that our leftist buds believe that it does.


    Does Corporate Money Lead to Political Corruption? - NYTimes.com

    It's ENTIRELY possible that politicians ARE the ones doing the shakedown -- isn't it? Looking for opportunities to stir the pot with their long powerful reach and troll for campaign bucks. Not CLEAR that the envelope with the money in it shows up first..

    Campaign finance: Corporate money and elections | The Economist

    Like I said it's not really CLEAR that the campaign cash is the CAUSE of the GOVT/CORP collusion.

    Lots of other arguments why I STRONGLY feel this way. One is that if the govt is gonna insist on writing DETAILED energy policy or DETAILED healthcare policy -- that is a CLEAR indication of cause and effect. The GOVT assumes the power and influence to meddle and then cannot accomplish their policy goal without fornicating with industry to learn how it works, what it's plans are, and get the research and data required to write even a reasonable approximation of energy or health policy. It is GOVT initiation of collusion.

    There's another fact that backs up the theory..

    Does Corporate Money Taint Opera (and Other Arts)? - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

    Corporate money sponsoring public organizations and events IS ALWAY suspect of influence. Rather than simple brand recognition and public outreach. But when GOVT places it's massive cash into the public sphere -- folks always tend to give their "speech money" a pass. Even when there are obnoxious messages attached to the Govt money.

    Keep GOVT within the bounds of TRADITIONAL regulation, limit it's power to meddle in picking winners/losers, seek out and PUNISH the politicians who shakedown corporations for money --- and I believe you'd see HUGE decreases in GOVT/CORP collusion..
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  2. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I know --- TMI in the OP..

    Let's do the Cliff Note version so that the leftys all wound up in OWS can understand it.

    The one OFFICIAL demand from this group is to remove the Corporate Cash influence from Washington politics. Turns out -- there is little academic evidence that Corporate cash exactly is the CAUSE of undue influence on politicians. In fact, in the absence of corporate cash -- they would STILL be looking to sell their power and influence to either achieve partisian political goals or reward folks (individuals) of their choosing.

    So the CAUSE of govt/corp collusion is not the campaign cash, but the INCREASING power and influence and propensity to micro meddle in the market. That's the rationalization towards SMALLER govt that concentrates on BASIC public needs like defense, fair elections, immigration control, education, ect. rather than these phoney crony capitalism gimmicks like Green jobs and stimulus which rewards stalwart partisian support groups favorable to the current admin.

    Got it? We agree on the PROBLEM. Your solution is whack and ass backwards..
     
  3. ladyliberal
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    ladyliberal Progressive Princess

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    What a great thread. There's lots of interesting stuff here (except opera, not my thing). I have a few thoughts of my own.

    -- We have to be careful about what we mean by corruption. What some people consider entirely proper others consider corrupt. You and I both agree that a money for votes scheme is corrupt. I have a different scenario that I consider corrupt that you might not.

    -- I don't believe that the problem with corporate-government interactions is solely from one side or the other. The relationship is very multifaceted, and both sides are full of corruptible human beings.

    -- It certainly doesn't follow from the fact that elected officials rely on donations to hold their seats that those donations influence their votes. It certainly suggests it, but it doesn't prove it.

    -- The influence of corporations doesn't end with legislators. There are plenty of unelected public workers in regulation, enforcement, procurement, etc. who may become corrupted.

    -- I think it is pretty normal for candidates to do something of a "shakedown". Some of them, such as Blagojevich, are quite blatant about it. Others are more subtle.

    Here's my main complaint with the definition of corruption considered in the NYT article: it ignores a mechanism by which a corporation can buy a vote without corrupting a legislator. I would say this is a corruption of the process though not of a legislator:

    Consider candidates A and B, vying for a Congressional seat. A corporation wants a "yes" vote on some bill that will help the corporation. If the corporation donated to candidate A in exchange for a promise of a yes vote, then that would certainly be corruption, of the type the NYT was considering.

    Consider, however, this scenario. Candidate A is already on record pledging to vote yes, based on her sincerely held personal beliefs. Candidate B is likewise on record pledging to vote no. If the corporation donates to Candidate A, and she is able to win an election she would otherwise have lost because of this, then the corporation has exactly what it wanted. Candidate A has held on to her principles, but the public policy effect is exactly as if she had been corrupted. This type of corruption seems to be quite common on both sides of the aisle (though more common, in my opinion, on the right, since they tend to favor pro-corporate policies).
     
  4. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I knew I could count on a "fellow liberal" to ponder the real source of collusion.. As long as by Liberal -- you are using the same definition as I am.. :lol:

    You bring up some of the same observations I held in reserve when doing the OP. Especially the one about the persistence of the unelected bureaucrats who actually craft and manipulate the power and influence. Often they serve to "take the bullet" once the scheme is busted, but largely they are the ones in intimate contact with corporations as regulations are pondered and written. Especially when it comes to say enforcement and site inspections -- this is a much larger problem actually than the Clowns in Congress.

    ((Like the mental midgets who closed that Massey coal mine 14 TIMES before allowing it to finally kill a dozen workers))

    Your 2 candidate scenario is a likely confirmation of the fact that the MONEY isn't the causal problem. It's the ability of the legislator ONCE ELECTED to deliver the goods. One merely has to find a candidate with a sympatico position. The fact that legislators for instance now believe they have the expertise to meddle in everything from sanitation to nuclear fission. AND -- they have the ability to intervene in any market they choose.

    It also goes to the fact that most legislators are NOT QUALIFIED to be making decisions on all those various technical aspects of our society. Oh they PRETEND they do -- but they need to rely ON INDUSTRY for the script of the policy that they are writing or they need to get conjugal with corporations to see what's being developed in the labs. The COLLUSION becomes a NECCESSARY part of the job description..

    I think the OWS demand to remove the money is pretty simplistic and short-sighted. That the reality is -- we need to have MORE HUMBLE legislators who DON'T pretend to be experts on everything they have the power to mold into their own image....

    That would be the Liberal "basic cynicism" of government -- wouldn't it.. :tongue:
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  5. FactFinder
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    FactFinder VIP Member

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    the influence came from individuals and investors -- not the corporation

    What's the difference? Investors and corporate individuals are the corporation.
     
  6. Care4all
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    Care4all Warrior Princess Supporting Member

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    google tom delay, bob ney, abramoff , and K Street, then the medicare pill bill....go to c-span's archive 4 it if you have time......................

    it goes both ways, but congressmen, very well could be or have been, the initiators....
     
  7. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    When you writing SPECIFIC laws to try to control corporate influence by means of cash -- it makes all the diff in the world. To do an adequate job -- you WOULD have to consider that even if CORPORATIONS were banned from making contributions, the same collusion/corruption process would occur from confabs of individuals and investors. Just being a "bundler" nowadays is more powerful than a corporate lobbyist..
     
  8. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Lots of paths for the collusion. But K Street would be filled with cupcake shops if Congress wasn't handing out goodies and over-reaching in it's power to micro-manage the market.

    Everyone that is threatened by the tremendous power that Congress wields and should have representation to defend themselves. Even corporations. Especially when no-nothing clowns are deciding on the fate of nuclear power for instance. There is not a "people's" position for that issue. It's based on science, engineering, risk analysis, and comparisons to alternatives. ALL sides have valid reasons to beg the Clown College for an ear. Not the corporations' fault that the Clowns might favor an audience that can help them get re-elected.
     
  9. FactFinder
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    Isn't that exactly what the market paid them to do?
     
  10. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    FactFinder::
    Don't know exactly what you mean by that. They work for their constituents. Constituents include folks whose jobs or investments depend on the markets that Congress shouldn't be gaming. For instance, there is NO good reason why Congress should be in the biz of picking winners in the solar panel biz. At this point -- that's a MATURE technology. If anything -- they should stick to funding RESEARCH, not picking stocks. They've USURPED authority to hand out those favors and seek quid pro quos when they SHOULD be counting the wars that we are engaging in..
     

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