Free Markets, Free People
Digby at Hullabaloo is just, well, incensed. It’s about those, those … SuperPacs. It’s about those, those … rich … trying to buy elections.
Digby now wonders “how anyone can call this democracy anymore.”
And the rant, based on a Mother Jones article, has charts and everything.
I certainly feel a new found faith in democracy knowing that this handful of billionaires are finally allowed to have the same influence over our government that I do.
And for all this cash they’re spending, it’s chump change to them.They are that rich.
One of the charts is entitled “The top five-dark money nonprofit groups have spent $53 million on ads. They disclosed just $420,920, or 0.0079%.”
Ye gods, you say. Those rascally Republicans. Trying to buy an election.
Of course Digby tries to sell this, via implication, as some sort of recent GOP innovation. You know something along the line that SuperPacs are, essentially, an invention of the right and best used by the right, and as noted in the Hullabaloo post, being set up for future use. (cue scary music!)
Alarmingly missing from Digby’s hyperventilating about people that are “that rich”, however, is a leftist faction that’s been doing this better and longer for years and years.
That’s right, unions perfected this long ago. And you, and obviously Digby, might be a bit surprised what that means in dollars and cents. Let me just put it this way, it makes $53 million seem like a drop in the bucket:
The usual measure of unions’ clout encompasses chiefly what they spend supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions’ own coffers.
These kinds of spending, which unions report to the Federal Election Commission and to Congress, totaled $1.1 billion from 2005 through 2011, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
The unions’ reports to the Labor Department capture an additional $3.3 billion that unions spent over the same period on political activity.
$4.4 billion? $4.4 billion since 2005? Makes those spending $53 million seem like pikers doesn’t it? And, of course, we know that union political activity has been going on well before 2005, don’t we?
But nary a mention, except in passing in an excerpt in the post, of that sort of spending by union or an exclamation about $4.4 billion seeming like “chump change” to them, they’re “that rich”.
But then, doing that would kill the meme in its tracks wouldn’t it?