The GOP Money Game

Share

There is a recent commentary in the Hill which explains the mess being caused by big money and Romneycare Obamacare.

“…But the real question is why do supporters of the reform have to continue to correct the misinformation being spread by organizations like the NFIB which are suppose to represent small businesses. Why did the NFIB work so hard and spend so much money trying to kill a law that has already benefitted hundreds of thousands of small businesses that have received the tax credits and will help in other ways to make health insurance more affordable when the law fully goes into effect in 2014.

The answer is money.  

According to a Public Campaign analysis of IRS 990 filings from the NFIB and NFIB Small Business Legal Center for 2009-2011, the NFIB organizations have had dramatic increases in contributions since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. But the new-found wealth is not from dues of the average NFIB member. The IRS filings show that the NFIB organizations received $10 million from just 10 contributors in 2010. In the previous year the largest individual contribution was just $21,000. News reports have identified the conservative and superpac Crossroads GPS as one of the NFIB contributors in 2010 giving $3.7 million.  

It is clear that the NFIB is acting on behalf of its partisan big contributors and not their members such as Mike Roach. Mr. Roach is one of the small business owners receiving the tax credits. He owns Paloma Clothing in Portland, Ore, and is a NFIB member for 36 years. In March Mr. Roach told the United Press International that “tearing down the law won’t help us; it would hurt….repealing the Affordable Care Act would send us back to the Dark Ages of health insurance.”

So while the Supreme Court Ruling is the end of this story as to the constitutionality of Obamacare, it is not the end of the political story and certainly not the end of the NFIB lies that are intended to scare people like Ralph and his brother. That is what the NFIB is being paid to do.
…”

Is this about health care or people like the Koch Brothers who have, allegedly, some of the worst health care policies of any large corporation?  There are rumors that they don’t even have health insurance.  They don’t need it.  This is one of the problems we’re facing.  The GOP is increasingly involved in a transition from the party of the small town, small business American who wanted lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a chance to get ahead in the world.  It is becoming a home for libertarian leaning huge mega buck robber barons who are in it for themselves.  That’s nice.  There’s nothing wrong with being in it for yourself and making a billion.  More power to them.

BUT –

There is more to the GOP than that, or there WAS more to it. It is about a group of men who are only interested in themselves.  They have become a plutocracy, determined to force THEIR will on the country.

Why doesn’t anyone bother asking why the Koch Brothers are dumping millions into the fight against Romneycare Obamacare? Sure, I could see someone kicking in a pile of money for a cause, but nine million bucks? Sure, the latest campaign is being run by Americans for Prosperity, but let’s be honest here. It is Koch based industry, with them footing most of the bills?

“...Charles and David Koch are the founders of the group paying for the ad and it has spent several million dollars already this year alone on anti-Obama issue ads. The Democratic National Committee pushed back on the ad Friday afternoon, disagreeing with the characterzation of the individual mandate as a “tax,” and accusing AFP of using “deception” in the ad.

“Only about 1 percent of Americans are expected to pay the penalty. In fact, all Americans who responsibly carry coverage are completely unaffected by this penalty,” DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said in a statement. “Under Romneycare, the individual mandate is structured exactly the same way as the requirement in the Affordable Care Act and even Romney himself touted how the law encourages free riders to take responsibility for their health care. All of which begs a simple question: if Republicans are attacking the President’s individual mandate as a tax, why aren’t they attacking Mitt Romney’s?”…”

Paul Krugman wrote:

NY Times

There are some conservatives who think that corporations should have the same rights as individual living and breathing people, especially when it comes to campaign donations.  They are “living”.  That’s nice.  If they are to have the same rights as individual Americans when it comes to campaign donations, can they register to vote?  Can they serve on a jury?

They are more like internationals in the country.  They have rights of all Americans except they cannot vote, serve on a jury, and donate to a campaign.

There is not difference, unless you are a conservative.  Then, it is all about the money.

“...During their long campaign to loosen rules on campaign money, conservatives argued that there was a simpler way to prevent corruption: transparency. Get rid of limits on contributions and spending, they said, but make sure voters know where the money is coming from.

Today, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech….”

These outrageous campaign contributions are undermining the very idea of We the people….

“...Imagine the outrage if Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton had solicited a $10 million campaign donation from the owner of a Macau casino that was under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice for possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

There would be calls for impeachment, and an independent prosecutor, and demands that the campaign give the money back.

But that was then and this is now. Billionaire casino operator Sheldon Adelson may end up giving $70 million or more to super PACs and shadow super PACs with ties to Mitt Romney, House Republicans and other federal candidates this year, and no one seems to give a damn….”

That is how John Farrell began his National Journal post.  I agree!  It’s even better.  Check out the headline for his article.

National Journal

I guess I was mistaken when I thought Mr. Perfect once condemned Newt Gingrich for taking evil casino money from Adelson.

My bad.

Huffington Post

“…Oil tycoons Charles and David Koch, who have promised to spend no less than $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama and place Romney in the White House, have similar legal concerns. Their company, Koch Industries, is under investigation for potential FCPA violations. The company has already fired a host of employees from the European subsidiary involved in the alleged payments to officials in Africa, India and the Middle East.

The computing company Hewlett-Packard is under investigation for alleged payments made by former employees to help a German subsidiary expand into Russia. CEO Meg Whitman and her husband combined to give $200,000 to the pro-Romney super PAC.

Romney supporters are not the only big-money donors with FCPA troubles. While it is not a full-blown investigation, the SEC has opened an inquiry into whether Hollywood studios could be involved in making payments to gain access to the lucrative Chinese movie market, according to CNN Money. One of those studios is DreamWorks, whose CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has contributed $2 million to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama’s reelection, and has raised at least $500,000 for the president’s campaign committee….”

Politico

“...Together, the groups in the Koch network intend to spend nearly $400 million ahead of the 2012 election — marking the brothers not only as key players in a planned $1 billion GOP-allied outside campaign but also as among the most powerful forces in American politics.

Adelson’s family, meanwhile, is among the single biggest donors to political groups this cycle, and this month he committed to donating $10 million to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, Obama’s GOP challenger. Adelson’s dueling $10 million pledges to the Kochs and the pro-Romney super PAC underscore an unprecedented coalescing of conservative outside money to try to defeat Obama and congressional Democrats in the fall.

The CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, estimated to be worth nearly $25 billion, Adelson has long been a major Republican financier. But his donations have primarily benefited establishment Republican groups and candidates, or those supportive of his single biggest pet issue — the vigorous defense of Israel.

Adelson’s donation to the Koch network demonstrates how the brothers have branched out beyond the libertarian strain of conservatism that once completely defined them. The Kochs have increasingly directed cash to more traditional GOP-allied groups such as the 60 Plus Association and American Future Fund. They’ve sent representatives to regular meetings first organized by Karl Rove at which outside groups coordinate their campaign advertising. And they’ve invited more rich conservatives — and not just free market purists — to their twice-a-year donor summits….”

Yesterday, we celebrated the birth of this nation and our independence.  We threw off rule by one nation, and a crown.  Today, though, there are forces at work that are more interested in promoting their own general welfare than that of the country.

The Atlantic

The GOP was once a bastion of baseball, apple pie, hot dogs, and small town America. Today it is all about pate, red wine, beautiful thin people, and the worship of a vile atheist who inspired the Book of Satan.

Now though….

“...The findings underscore the depth of the wounds of the financial crisis and how far many families remain from healing. If the recession set Americans back 20 years, economists say, the road forward is sure to be a long one. And so far, the country has seen only a halting recovery.

“It’s hard to overstate how serious the collapse in the economy was,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “We were in free fall.”

The recession caused the greatest upheaval among the middle class. Only roughly half of middle­-class Americans remained on the same economic rung during the downturn, the Fed found. Their median net worth — the value of assets such as homes, automobiles and stocks minus any debt — suffered the biggest drops. By contrast, the wealthiest families’ median net worth rose slightly.

Americans have tried to re­balance the family budget but have found it difficult to reverse the damage.

The survey showed that fewer families are carrying credit card balances, and those who do have less debt. The median balance dropped 16 percent, from $3,100 in 2007 to $2,600 in 2010. The Fed also found that the percentage of Americans who have no debt rose to a quarter of families…”

WPost

“...On its face, this was an unpromising idea. The next generation of Americans was not going to be so very much larger or so very much richer than the prior generation as to support a long-term tripling or quadrupling of housing prices. And anyway, housing is not nearly so reliable an asset as people tend to assume. (My father, a successful real-estate developer, jokes: “People don’t make money on their houses. They only think they do because they don’t keep good records of how much they spend along the way.”)…”

NY Times

 

WSJ

One of the worst problems facing conservative punditry is their abject blindness when it comes to Mitt Romney. To The Pink Flamingo, one of the most tragic examples is Michael Medved, who is so in love with Romney that he is incapable of facing factual accuracy.

“…… Despite their vast wealth, the Romneys famously live below their means, flying coach class when they use commercial airlines, with Mitt idiosyncratically ironing his own shirts in hotel rooms rather than sending them out to be pressed. During his early childhood, the candidate’s father (who never earned a college degree) struggled to make his way in business, while Obama’s parents were both globe-trotting, left-leaning academics who ignored financial considerations while pursuing their research and advanced degrees…”

Are we living in the same country?

“…The Romneys and several other family members are in the midst of a five-day, six-state bus tour and they will head to their native Michigan Tuesday. In the interview, she said they were “excited about getting back” to their home state. Mrs. Romney took a day off the trail Saturday to attend the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, N.J., and watch Ebeling and Rafalca earn their spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Romney is avidly involved in the expensive world of dressage, sometimes known as “horse ballet.” She credits horseback riding for almost eliminating her symptoms from multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 1998.

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of dressage as an Olympic sport, but the Romneys’ involvement has given the sport more notoriety than it has ever experienced. Even satirist Stephen Colbert has been targeting dressage and the Romneys with his humor naming dressage the “Sport of the Summer.”

Romney told Beckmann she rides Rafalca as well, but not in competition, comparing her level of horseback riding to an Olympic level like a “country club pro…and then going to Wimbledon. You don’t understand how professional these riders are riding at this level. It’s quite difficult, it’s quite competitive.”

On Sunday Mitt Romney told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer his wife “cares very deeply about this sport and about the horses….”

The answer to Medved’s comment about Romney being “one of us”…

The Atlantic

“…The current debate about rich and poor — the 1 percent versus the 99 percent — is a bit misleading because the evidence usually is data about income, not wealth. Looking at wealth would make the comparison even starker.

There are some nice deals to be had in the income tax code these days, but most wealth accumulates and passes from generation to generation with no tax at all. Warren Buffett (who has selflessly taken on the role of all-purpose tape measure in these matters) is worth $45 billion or so. Do you think that all of that $45 billion, or even most of it, has appeared on any Form 1040 on its way to the cookie jar? Even at the special, low 15 percent rate the U.S. insanely confers on capital gains?…Unlikely. Much of that $45 billion is unrealized capital gains — increases in the value of Buffett’s stock that have never been cashed in, and therefore have never been taxed. I’m not saying that unrealized capital gains should be taxed (although it’s a thought). I’m just noting that you only pay income tax when an investment is liquidated, and very wealthy people don’t have to liquidate until they actually need to spend the money.

For most of the very rich, this time is never. When you die, any unrealized capital gains disappear for tax purposes. Your heirs, if and when they sell, pay taxes only on any increase in value since they got the money. And there is no estate tax at the moment on estates of $5.12 million or less….”

There are a few of us, The Pink Flamingo very much included, who have been accused of becoming “socialist” because we are truly disgusted by the influx of big money into the GOP. It’s too bad we can’t get people to understand it is not about class warfare in the classic sense.  It is about wanting We the Normal People of the US to have a shot at the brass ring.  You can’t do that when the GOP, which was all about We the Normal People of the US  until about 2 years ago, is no longer about us.  It is about pandering too and protecting the ultra wealthy, many of whom have never been Republican a day in their lives.

The great tragedy of all of this is that it is destroying MY vote.  It is destroying YOUR vote. It is completely devaluing the small political contributions we can make. We no longer matter.  It is robbing us of our voice and our ability to help direct the future of this nation.

If you don’t think The Pink Flamingo does not want the ultra wealthy to live long and prosper you are out of your mind.  I do. I just think that the playing field should be level.  They should be required to play by the same laws and rules the rest of us do.

Is that socialist?

I don’t think it is.

In fact, I think that is what July 4, 1776 was all about.

 

Share

One thought on “The GOP Money Game

  1. Somebody at church had a list of Koch products to boycott. It was interesting to look over this list before going to shop. It makes you think twice about buying Angel Soft Bath Tissue, Brawny Paper Towels etc. Nobody has to fund the Tea Party and the far right. So far, we don’t have a mandate to buy any of these products.

Comments are closed.