Friday, July 22, 2016

Buying Political Protection

It’s the American way. Companies buy political protection. It's the cost of doing business. Banks, manufacturers, merchants and industrial companies have always done it. Now, the oligarchs of high tech have discovered the magical formula. As regards the modern political world, that is.

That would be: give generously to the Democrats and they will protect you. Republicans are not going to bust your trusts. Democrats might. The Republicans will not crack down on your lack of diversity. The Democrats might do so. Thus, give generously to the Democratic Party. They will talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk they will walk the other way.

Apparently, Elizabeth Warren did not get the message. She has been accusing the high tech oligarchs of engaging in less-than-competitive practices. The party has been trying to tell her to shut up.

Bloomberg reports:

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had no problem naming names in her June 29 antitrust speech, calling out Silicon Valley giants Google, Apple and for inhibiting competition.

But fellow Democrats might not be as forthright about biting the hand that feeds them, even in the party’s renewed quest to break up monopolies across U.S. markets.

Big Tech’s role as both lobbyist and Democratic donor makes it harder for the party to deliver on promises to preserve market competition, according to antitrust advocates. 

The same thing happened to former Clinton administration Labor Secretary, Robert Reich.

But, let us not forget diversity. Silicon Valley is not exactly diverse. Its employees are largely white and Asian males. Power is not distributed equally across all racial and ethnic groups. 

Sheryl Sandberg does not run a company where men and women are equally represented at all levels of Facebook. Since she has the power to do something about it, her failure to do so suggests that she would rather see other company, her competitors, adopt her policies. 

To be fair, the companies have explained that they are hard at work on the problem. But, you will never hear a discouraging word about their hiring practices from the social justice warriors in the Democratic Party. They have been bought. The oligarchs who run these places did not get to be as rich and powerful as they are without knowing how to play the spread… as they say.

They know that the only threat to their business practices is the Democratic Party, and they have been smart enough to buy protection.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: But, let us not forget diversity. ... Since [Sheryl Sandberg] has the power to do something about [gender equity], her failure to do so suggests that she would rather see other company, her competitors, adopt her policies.

Nothing in that article talked about diversity.

Are you suggesting Sheryl Sandberg will use her political leverage to get State or National Democrats to legislate some sort of feminist quota system for hirees?

Or you suggesting the high tech oligarchs are giving political payouts to stop them from moving forward on equity ideology from the Feminists?

I suppose a good racket can work both angles at the same time.

On the other hand, Hillary is also apparently taking money from the people who want politicians to stop taking money from corporations, via Super PACs and such.
Democrat Hillary Clinton will call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in her first 30 days as president, her campaign said.

Clinton first made the pledge to overturn the decision in 2015 during the opening week of her presidential campaign. The 2010 high court ruling, which allowed unlimited corporate and union spending in elections, has helped release a flood of political money in federal, state and local contests.

In a statement, campaign officials called overturning the controversial decision a key part of Clinton’s plan to “challenge the stranglehold that wealthy interests have over our political system.”

What is Trump's position on Citizens United? Well, against it at least last August, although perhaps he's saying the opposite, that we should be more honest and allow direct coordination for unlimited corporate money to campaigns?
Trump also criticized Citizens United, the controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for unlimited independent spending to influence elections. He said super-PACs, which are legally prohibited from coordinating with campaigns they support, are a "total phony deal," noting that Jeb Bush's super-PAC is run by "somebody that's very close to him." He said the law "forces people into being somewhat dishonest."

"I guess from my standpoint personally I'd almost rather not see it," he said of candidates seeking to raise large amounts of money from the Koch brothers. "I see all of the money that's being raised by these folks, and they're raising hundreds of millions of dollars, and ultimately billions of dollars."

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @July 22, 2016 at 6:22 AM:

"Nothing in that article talked about diversity."

Ares, you are insufferable.

Stuart is talking about influence-peddling at a macro level. It's about "What's right for thee is not for me." It's about a PR mirage/smokescreen instead of facts. It's obfuscation. I would expect you to understand this.

And the Bloomberg article said nothing about Citizens United. You added that.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Poor Microsoft. Bill Gates just thought it was enough to surround himself with really, really smart people. HA!

The company was hounded by the Clinton Justice Department for antitrust in the 1990s. After the case was over, they got wise. They hired lots of lobbyists, some through the Podesta Group. That's John Podesta, the Clinton's most loyal and reliable hack.

Google is much more wise. They pay people off to avoid antitrust.

What is amusing is how Microsoft was portrayed as the Death Star of the tech industry, a company so dominant and dangerous that its operating system dominance had to be regulated, or the company had to be broken up. Joel Klein headed-up that effort, and then went to be Chancellor of New York Public Schools. Ahh, the revolving door of bureaucracy. You can bet he's cashing in on multiple pensions.

Google is much, much, much more powerful and dangerous today than Microsoft ever was. I don't trust Google one bit, but I'm not going to go off the grid, either.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Democrats got touch on Bill Gates... until he began to donate generously to Proggy causes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Asians don't count as diverse... but Hispanic whites do.