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Thread: Campaign finance reform

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Campaign finance reform

    Back in January the Supreme Court reversed some earlier decisions and decided to allow corporations (and unions) to hand out unlimited campaign money as a form of free 'speech'. I personally think this was an extremely wise thing to do as companies like BP (that's British Petroleum) don't seem to exert enough influence on the American political process.

    This November will be the first election cycle we really get to see some of the effects of this decision played out. We caught an early glimpse when Target and Best Buy donated money to anti-gay candidates/organizations in Minnesota and found itself facing calls for a boycott. The nation's second largest retailer has been scrambling ever since to do p.r. damage control. This brings up a question - will we be seeing similar consumer reactions to campaign contributions in the future?

    Would it grind you to learn that companies are spending the same dollars you gave them for purchasing goods and services from them are turning around and doling it out to support some candidate whose views represent the opposite side of the aisle from your own? Seems like it's going to get pretty complicated figuring out where you can or can't shop without pulling the rug out from under your own feet. Voters may end up needing 'scorecards' to keep track.

    Is it also possible that corporate donors, being painfully aware of pissing off potenitally half their customers, will tend to support the most moderate candidates possible?
    Last edited by Maister; 07 Sep 2010 at 10:34 AM.

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I think that this will have some "openness" to it, but people don't boycott for long. Sure you might be mad at Target, but you will soon forget and continue to support them.

    I don't think that the campaign finance rules really helps anything. Most of what that money will pay for is either attack ads, or misinformation. Both of which are bad for our country.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I think that this will have some "openness" to it, but people don't boycott for long.
    Based on the nature of boycotts historically, this might not be an unreasonable conclusion - most boycotts, after all, were typically conducted by a relative handful of 'save the dolphin' or 'fair wages in Nicaragua' types and haven't tended to garner much traction apart from perhaps a few soon forgotten headlines. But the political game has changed since those days. The fringe elements in both parties have grown considerably since the mid 1990's and have been grabbing the proverbial ball, racking up impressive times of posession, and calling a surprising number of plays in the process. We may find this ruling opens up a whole new political front -and rest assured the fringes will be making as much hay as possible, eager to threaten painting any prospective corporate donor willing to give to the other side as supporters of either baby killers or a racist homophobes. And unlike previous boycotts huge sums of money will now be available for just these sorts of attack ads to remind/influence the public at regular two year intervals. I suspect it's going to get massively ugly.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Let's see...
    ...rich executives at Target™ and Best Buy™ spend some of their respective fortunes to support conservative causes = *BAD*
    ...rich executives in the entertainment industry (ie, Ken Soros) spend some of their respective fortunes to support leftist causes = *GOOD*

    Any disconnect here?



    Mike

  5. #5
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    ^I don't particularly think either of those are "good", but regardless, you're missing the point. We're not talking about "rich executives" from Target and Best Buy. We're talking about Target and Best Buy as corporations making donations. With the way that nearly all corporations are incorporated in Delaware (and must follow Delaware statutes regarding fiduciary duty), I don't think this will end well. A corporation making a donation is VERY different from the CEO of that corporation making a donation.

    And yes, I think that giving the same power to unions is at least as worrisome, if not more so.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  6. #6
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    Let's see...
    ...rich executives at Target™ and Best Buy™ spend some of their respective fortunes to support conservative causes = *BAD*
    ...rich executives in the entertainment industry (ie, Ken Soros) spend some of their respective fortunes to support leftist causes = *GOOD*

    Any disconnect here?



    Mike
    I find both bad. George Soros is just as guilty of spreading lies as "rich executives" at companies. I think that by having the money be available for this trash, we are muddying the crap filled water even more.

    ================

    Although I think that our internet culture has changed the way we work, I still think people are lazy. If we have to walk further or drive further we won't do it. So what if Walmart has horrible hiring practices, doesn't give their employees benefits, and has no back up plan for when they close a store, they have cheap soap!!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    I find both bad. George Soros is just as guilty of spreading lies as "rich executives" at companies. I think that by having the money be available for this trash, we are muddying the crap filled water even more.

    ================

    Although I think that our internet culture has changed the way we work, I still think people are lazy. If we have to walk further or drive further we won't do it. So what if Walmart has horrible hiring practices, doesn't give their employees benefits, and has no back up plan for when they close a store, they have cheap soap!!
    You're right, why did my half-awake brain say 'Ken', it's George.....



    Mike

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    You're right, why did my half-awake brain say 'Ken', it's George.....



    Mike
    Ken is George's evil twin brother?
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    Let's see...
    ...rich executives at Target™ and Best Buy™ spend some of their respective fortunes to support conservative causes = *BAD*
    ...rich executives in the entertainment industry (ie, Ken Soros) spend some of their respective fortunes to support leftist causes = *GOOD*

    Any disconnect here?



    Mike
    I see what you are getting at and certainly understand your frustration with corporate donation criticism targeting conservative causes. It could very well be that you could have, say, Patagonia making donations to what you termed "leftist" causes. The difference here is that corporations are making the donations, not individuals. The rich executives have always had the ability to individually donate to a cause. George Soros is an individual voting citizen, whereas Target/Best Buy are corporations with no individual identity. I don't have a problem with every single Target employee donating to a campaign, but I do have a problem with a corporation doing so without limit or restraint. For the record, I don't like Soros.

    Truthfully, I don't expect to see a whole lot of service corporations like retailers getting too heavily into the fray unless they go through an unaffiliated organization of some kind. They simply don't want the PR issues/hassle that come with it. On the other hand, those corporations that don't directly interact with citizens, leaving that aspect to their affiliates, are going to participate heavily.

    Personally, if I ran a publicly traded company I would stay the hell away from making campaign donations as a corporation. I've seen what can happen to a fire department or police department in the next budget after their locally-endorsed candidates lose a city council election.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    You're right, why did my half-awake brain say 'Ken', it's George.....



    Mike
    I just assumed you meant George. I don't know many other Soroseseses's....
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    To be honest, businesses have been influencing elections for years now. They have been doing on the federal and state levels. Up to a certain point, they should have that right. When government action influences their bottom line, they should have the ability to have a say in the matter. However, they should not have more of a say than any other person or organization. The problem is that the more money you have, the more of a say you have. The other problem is that corporations dont care about America or it's people. Their primary concern is profit. If their actions hurt people but benefit their bottom line, they will do it. This poses a problem for goverment which is in charge of looking out for the health, safety and welfare of all it's citizens.

    Back to Meister's original question, the more sensenitive a business is to changes in their market/customers the less likely they are to be involved. Further, some businesses will become more active because their customers would endorse the involvement. Financial coporations only benefit from donating to hard right conservative/Republican candidates.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Ken is George's evil twin brother?
    Ken = code word for Rupert Murdoch.

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