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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Even corporate America wants campaign finance reform to stop crony capitalism

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.


 "Political 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”."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/21/even-corporate-america-wants-campaign-finance-reform-to-stop-crony-capitalism