Is Money In Politics Bad?
This always depends on whose money the “political party” and advocates are receiving. Ultimately, it is it’s own time held tradition of American hypocrisy that can be summed up as, “It’s wrong when you do it, but okay when I do.”
I came across this article in The Washington Post detailing a list for 2014 revealing the donors for the Center for American Progress. CAP finally decided to do this after taking some criticism for a lack of transparency from fellow progressives as well as conservatives only too eager to point out flaws in their opponents.
Notable top donors include Walmart, financial giant Citigroup, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and some large biotech and pharma firms. Walmart is actually particular shocking, considering unions’s attitude toward them and their top-dog status as a progressive punching bag. This however, is not what what we should apparently be paying attention to.
“We’re proud of our donors,” CAP president Neera Tanden said in an interview. “We’re very diversified. We have a very low percentage of corporate donors. We have a wide panoply of individual and foundation supporters.
In political campaign financing and lobbying, there seems to be this odd disconnect between who you should take money from and why. Most progressives will insist that money in politics is bad, but won’t hesitate to ask and accept plenty of it in order to win political races and advance certain agenda’s. It was not too long ago when Michelle Obama decried the influence of money in politics, only to request campaign donations in the same speech only minutes before.
The irony of this hasn’t been lost on those on the left. This was brought up by The Atlantic in an article a few months back, “Is Philanthropy Bad for Democracy?” in which Gara Lamarche made this point about his fellow progressives:
Why are they are not more concerned about the undemocratic and largely unaccountable nature of philanthropy? Why are we—since I too have failed, for years, to ask these big questions—hypersensitive to the dangers of big money in politics, and the way it perpetuates advantage and inequality, but blind, it seems, to the dangers of big philanthropy in the public sphere?
A prevailing question that continues to remain is as to why money from “corporations” is dangerous, but money from huge political PACs, non-profit organizations, ect are not. The CAP president emphasized the variety of donors and foundations contributing money as somehow not as “bad” as receiving money from more “acceptable” sources. Why?
The fundamental question we must ask is rather simple: Do the end’s justify the means in regards to where the cash comes from? There is no gray area. Either money in politics is bad or it is not. People with strong political involvements are willing to make all sorts of exceptions about where they get their money from while condemning others for doing the exact same thing.
At some point, there must be some consistency or the whole argument breaks down into what it has become now; decrying others for doing the exact same thing that you are doing. While you may be right about the destructive influence of “their” money in politics, it doesn’t make your identical actions any less destructive.
Either we get rid of money from politics all-together, or we quit pointing fingers at people getting funding from places, people, and worldviews we don’t like. This of course brings up another issue: Is money free speech? That is another debacle with it’s own mess.