Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Power of Business

"The tension highlights the distance between the pro-business stalwarts of the traditional Republican Party and the populism of its newer representatives, many of whom seem to view Wall Street and Washington with equal suspicion.

“I think they’re very pleased with the anti-government inclinations of the Tea Party Republicans when it comes to taxes and regulation,” said David Axelrod, one of the president’s chief political advisers. “But now we have a situation where the integrity of the economy and the U.S. financial system is at stake, and they’re being hoisted on their own petards.”"

This is from an article in today's NY Times [July 27, 2011] highlighting that "business," meaning some businesses like the Chamber of Commerce, are trying to get Republicans or some of them to support increasing the debt limit but are not having as much success as they would like. This illustrates, of course, the great power that "business" has over those it makes contributions to because these businesses, as the article points out, gave a lot of money to these Republicans. So why can't they just dictate to these Republicans and get their way? Good question. Perhaps we have overestimated the power of those who give money to politicians. Perhaps we even have the relationship wrong, viz., that these businesses are hit up for money and pay not because they want to but because they are expected too. A kind of "payment in lieu of taxes" if you will. They, the businesses, are not buying influence; they are buying protection.

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