What is most striking about the report is who is behind it. The CEO of CED is former Romney supporter Steve Odland. A former top lobbyist for PepsiCo, a republican called Larry Thompson is endorsing the single most important structural reform in America: publicly financed elections. Thompson is the Co-Chair of CED’s Sustainable Capitalism Subcommittee, a driver in the release of the report. Paul Atkins, another member of the CED board (and the sustainable capitalism subcommittee) was a Bush-appointed SEC Commissioner who opposed rules constraining hedge funds.
corruption is eating our democracy out from the inside. Most Americans
know that. But democratic and economic health can’t be easily
disentangled. As it diminishes our public sphere and drowns out the
myriad of citizen voices, it also sucks the energy and vitality from our
economy. This causes pain to business owners. According to a recent report from the Committee on Economic
Development, an old, white-shoe non-partisan organization that came out
of the aftermath of World War II (and was a booster for the Marshall
Plan), the United States economy is increasingly represented by crony
capitalism, not competitive capitalism.
Lobbyists and privately funded elections have, according to the CED:
“exerted an important toll on the US economy”. They propose banning
registered lobbyists from raising money for federal candidates and
officeholders, and implementing strict revolving door policies. Crony capitalism, the report details, leads to “rent-seeking through
subsidies or taxes that benefit vested interests at the expense of
others, rather than the pursuit of profit through socially and
economically productive behavior”."