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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/26/18

Time for Dems to Kick the Corporate Money Addiction

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Message Larry Butler
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Critics from the right often cite one perfectly valid equivalency between Republican and Democrat: they both take money from corporations and wealthy individuals. Although not perfectly symmetric - the GOP gets bigger money from big money - it's still a defensible position. The parties are truly addicted to corporate money. This ought to trouble Democrats, but there's a richer reality hiding just below the surface.

Corporate money goes to the GOP to support its agenda. What agenda? Money is speech. Corporations are persons. Tax cuts are always good. Deregulation benefits consumers. The government must be protected from voters. Educational "choice" benefits students. Laissez-faire helps workers. Small government is good government. These are key planks of the GOP platform, and they are there because of corporations and wealthy individuals. So it's easy to see why corporations support their own platform.

By contrast, corporate money goes to the Democratic Party to undermine its agenda. What agenda? Expanded health care saves lives. Voting is a civil right. Environmental regulation protects the commons. Campaign finance reform is vital. Organized labor must be protected. Religious, gender, and racial minorities must be protected. Public education is good. These things are decidedly not on the corporate agenda, and most of them violate corporate principles and values.

So how does this work? Clearly, the corporate takeover of the GOP has been a roaring success. Big money is even spent in support of the unrelated special interest blocs that create the illusion of populism in the party. It's important to keep a coalition of gun owners, evangelical extremists, racial bigots, xenophobes, and misogynists - so corporate money keeps these factions glued to the party. Sure, big money is effective in promoting its own agenda.

But how does corporate money undermine the Democratic Party? Corporate Democrats welcome big-money support, and when they receive it their loyalty is split between the principles of the Party and the principles of their donors. Big money is carefully targeted using the crosshairs of specific candidates calibrated to specific issues for maximum impact on healthcare initiatives, economic subsidies, campaign finance reform, and deregulation. What's even worse, welcoming corporate support casts doubt on the integrity of the entire Party, neuters its moral authority, and invites the equivalency: Both parties are corrupt - the whole system is corrupt.

Democrats can do better than this. Democrats must be better than this. The Party must kick its addiction to corporate money.

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Thirty five years as a small business consultant, CFO, and university educator specializing in quantitative business and economic modeling - a suite of experience now focused on economic inequality. Carefully attributed data, thoughtful (more...)

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