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Friday, November 07, 2014 11:32 AM

Crony Capitalism Tribute: Mafia Dons vs. Politicians; Who Really Won the Election?

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Who Really Won the Election?

If you think Republicans won the recent mid-term election you are mistaken. PolicyMic has One Chart that Shows Who Won.

Most Expensive Senate Races

Money Won the Election!

The Center for Responsive Politics projects the 2014 mid-term election will cost roughly $3.67 billion.

When all is said and done, Team Red (all Republican candidates, parties, committees and conservative outside groups) will spend $1.75 billion on this election. Team Blue (all Democratic candidates, parties, committees and liberal outside groups) will spend a total of $1.64 billion. [Outside groups account for the rest.]

Election Cost Estimate

Just three-one-hundredths of one percent of Americans wrote a check larger than $2,600 — the maximum one individual can give to a candidate each election — during this cycle.

But those are numbers based on the system of so-called “hard money” donations — money given to candidates or committees, which is strictly limited. Outside groups rarely deal in sums so small. Most outside groups rely heavily on large donors. Very large donors

The number one donor of disclosed outside money is Steyer, followed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has given $20 million to super PACs, of which 98 percent went to liberal or Democratic recipients. But despite those top two donors, conservative donors dominate the top 20 — 15 of them are conservative. The three other liberal donors are: Fred Eychaner ($7.9 million), George Soros ($3.5 million) and hedge-funder James Simons (and his wife Marilyn), who have given $3 million.

The top conservative donor to outside groups is Paul Singer, of hedge fund Elliott Management, who has given $9.3 million. Last cycle’s top donor — both to outside groups and overall — was Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, who with his physician wife Miriam gave $92 million.

Topping the list of organizations contributing money to outside groups is the National Education Association, which has given a whopping $22.4 million to outside groups. Following the NEA are a slew of other labor unions — the Carpenters & Joiners Union ($11.2 million), the AFL-CIO ($7.6 million) and AFSCME ($6 million). These unions gave almost exclusively to liberal outside groups.

There are, however, a handful of conservative organizations on the list of big organizational donors, including the No. 3 group, the National Association of Realtors, which gave to its own super PAC; it has spent the money in support of Republicans by a two-to-one margin.

An important caveat: These lists of top donors (individuals or organizations) do not include donations made to dark money groups, which in some instances pass money on to super PACs.

Each side can (and does) point the finger at the other. Regardless, the end results show incumbents get reelected year after year. Even in the 2014 mid-term rout, Republicans only picked up 12 House seats.

Want to get elected?

First you need to pass a litmus test for your party.

Want to reform Social Security or Medicare? If you do, you better not say so. Next, you better not offend both unions and the NRA. Depending on where you live, one of those alone may do you in. Both and you are toast.

Live in a state that gets military contracts? If so, you cannot get elected if you are "weak on defense".

Bottom line: If you want to get elected, you better listen to what big money wants, or you don't get any of it. And you need money to win!

Mafia Dons vs. Politicians

Gordon Long has an interesting post this week called The Crony Tribute System.

Instead of clipping text here are some self-explanatory graphics.

Crony Tribute

Mafia Tribute System

US Political System

Evolution of Crony Capitalism

"Impenetrable" Firewall Between Public Service and Private Profit

Why Does It Takes a Crowbar to Review Regulations?

Investigating Fraud and Corruption

Corporations are People, Money is Speech

Checks and Balances

Does It Matter Which Party Controls the Senate?

I believe those graphics from Gordon Long sum things up quite nicely.

If you believe differently, Charles Hugh Smith may change your mind with an excellent set of questions in his post If You Really Think It Matters Which Party Controls the Senate, Answer These Questions.

Eight Questions

  1. Will U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast change from being an incoherent pastiche of endless war and Imperial meddling?
  2. Will basic civil liberties be returned to the citizenry?
  3. Will the predatory, parasitic policies of the Federal Reserve that virtually everyone from the Wall Street Journal to what little remains of the authentic Left understands has greatly increased income and wealth inequality be reined in?
  4. Will the steaming pile of profiteering, corruption, waste, fraud and ineptitude that is Sickcare in the U.S. be truly reformed so its costs drop by 50% to match what every other developed democracy spends per person on universal healthcare?
  5. Will the influence of Big Money be well and truly banned from politics?
  6. Will the incentives in the Status Quo be reset to punish rapacious financialization and gaming the system and reward productive investment and labor?
  7. Will anything be done to dismantle the Neofeudal Debt-Serfdom known as student loans?
  8. Will any prudent assessment be made of unaffordable weapons systems like the F-35 Lightning--$1.5 trillion and counting for aircraft that will soon be matched by drones that cost a fraction of the F-35's $200 million a piece price tag?

Financial Repression

I define financial repression as "a set of fiscal and monetary policies for the expressed benefit of the ruling class: politicians, banks, and the already wealthy, at the expense of everyone else."

Any doubt that financial repression by central banks and lobbyist-sponsored government legislation explains income inequality?

For further discussion, please see Gordon Long Video Interview of Mish: Topic - Financial Repression (and How to Defend Yourself From It).

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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