Friday, May 22, 2015

Honest Question

In commenting about the Senate cloture vote on Trade Promotion Authority yesterday, Paul Waldman wrote this:
If I were a cynic, I’d say the only thing that can bring Democrats and Republicans together like that is a bill that’s supported by corporate America.
Does anyone else remember that corporate America strongly supports comprehensive immigration reform? Why hasn't that brought Democrats and Republicans together?

I'm certainly not one who is interested in taking up a defense of "corporate America." But I do think they've become the convenient villain for liberals to blame. Truth is, it only bothers me when it becomes a knee-jerk response that keeps people from looking a bit deeper into things that are often much more complex than an over-simplified "point-and-blame" response can capture.  


  1. There's a name for those who vilify corporations, and it isn't "liberal," it's "socialist." Liberals want to help people, especially those with the least; socialists think capitalism is evil and want to destroy corporations, never mind that it would throw millions into unemployment. Right now, largely thanks to Elizabeth Warren, who has lent her credibility to some over-the-top fear mongering, the anti-capitalist left has gotten excited over the prospect of scaring a lot of people into their corner.

    1. Obama and his sycophants have been blaming corporations when people commit crime. No wonder people hate corporations.

    2. What a silly thing to say. Corporations have an autonomous presence, and the people act in its name and for its interests. This administration is very nuanced in its calling out of responsibility. People hate corporations for their actions directed by people of course but with the legal status that law gives the fictitious person. Corporations deserve the vilification every bit as much as the corporate decision makers do. But Nancy is equally nuanced in pointing out that they serve as the legal employers of millions. Being in objection to them wholesale is completely idiotic just as pretending they are not responsible for illegal acts overlooks very important responsibilities.

    3. "Corporations deserve the vilification every bit as much as the corporate decision makers do."

      Well, corporate decision-makers (also anonymous, under the PBO's DOJ), are receiving NO vilification. Do you really believe fictitious persons (i.e. corporations) deserve the same?

      I'll ask, yet again, in regards to this week's kid-gllove treatment of criminal bankers: Since the criminal actors aren't being held responsible, why shouldn't we shut down the corporations and sell off their assets to honest bankers? This would prevent the "moral hazard" risk of bank customer assets, while holding these "fictitious persons" accountable.

      Finally, tell me about the administration's nuance when dealing with whistle-blowers.

  2. Except Democrats and Republicans haven't been brought together. 90% of Republicans plus only 25% of Democrats will get you the requisite 60% of the total vote, but only by the barest minimum. Hardly a steamrolling corporate landslide. 95% of Democrats plus 20% of Republicans was enough to secure 60% support for immigration, and would have passed the House by the same margin if it hadn't been killed by Boehner's leadership.

    And the reason Boehner killed immigration is because the most corporate-friendly policy is not always aligned with the other axis of right-wing policy formulation: white supremacy. Adding more immigrant citizens enlarges the economy but also the public commons and increases demand for more and better services and government support. It also increases the odds that political actors will be nonwhite, and that nonwhite people will acquire economic and political power.

    There's none of those kinds of pitfalls with trade. Trade just means more profits. Liberal statists will try to capture those gains through taxation. The business interests themselves will try to bank them and be able to spend more on compensation and share buybacks and the Chamber of Congress and ALEC and lobbying and whatnot. Can anyone deny that the TPP will result in both more jobs and growth and more corporate money in politics? Money that traditionally lobbies against and forestalls Democratic priorities.

    Waldman's got it wrong, trade deals don't pass because they favor corporate interests. They struggle to pass because they favor corporate interests. TPP should be a no-brainer on the basis of simple trade formulas and the opening to align countries against China. But neither D nor R favor exclusively pro-growth agendas at all times against potential core political ramifications.