Posts Tagged American Enterprise Institute
TUESDAY, JUN 19, 2012
BY ROBERT REICH, ROBERTREICH.ORG
A line of attendees wait to get inside for the keynote at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco. (AP/Paul Sakuma)
Perhaps you’d expect no more from the Republican leader of the Senate who proclaimed three years ago that the GOP’s first priority was to get Obama out of the White House. But Senator Mitch McConnell’s speech Friday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington is simply bonkers.
The only reason I bring it up is because it offers an inside look at how the Republican goal of getting rid of Obama is inextricably linked to the Republican Supreme Court’s decision equating corporations with people under the First Amendment, and to the Republican’s current determination to keep Americans in the dark about which corporations contribute what.
In the upside-down world of regressive Republicanism, McConnell thinks proposed legislation requiring companies to disclose their campaign spending would stifle their free speech.
He describes the current push to disclose the sources behind campaign contributions as a “political weapon,” used by the Democrats, “to expose its critics to harassment and intimidation.”
Harassment and intimidation? It used to be called accountability to shareholders and consumers.
Five members of the Supreme Court think corporations are people. Mitt Romney agrees. And now the minority leader of the Senate – the highest-ranking Republican official in America – takes this logic to its absurd conclusion: If corporations are people, they must be capable of feeling harassed and intimidated if their shareholders or consumers don’t approve of their political expenditures.
Hell, they might even throw a tantrum. Or cry. Corporations have feelings.
This isn’t just whacko. It also defies law and logic. What are corporations anyway, separate and apart from their shareholders and consumers? Legal fictions, pieces of paper.
And whom do corporations exist for if not the people who legally own them and those who purchase the products and services they sell?
Clearly, McConnell doesn’t want corporations to be forced to disclose their political contributions because he and other Republicans worry that some shareholders and consumers would react badly if they knew – and thereby constrain such giving.
And the reason McConnell and other Republicans don’t want any constraint on corporate political giving is most CEOs are Republicans who want to use their firms – and the money their shareholders legally own – as secret slush funds for the Republican Party, funneled through front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS.
Such nonprofits have spent significantly more than Super PACs on elections since 2010, according to the Center for Public Integrity and Center for Responsive Politics. Nonprofits have spent $95 million on elections since 2010, while Super PACs, which are required to disclose their donors, have spent $65 million, the Centers found.
Crossroads GPS has disclosed on its tax returns that 23 donors to it have each given $1 million or more to finance its campaign activities so far this year. But Crossroads claims status as a nonprofit under IRS rules – a “social welfare” organization” that doesn’t have to disclose its donors – even though anyone with half a brain knows its overriding purpose is to influence elections.
McConnell and other Republicans conveniently forget secret campaign money was at the heart of the Watergate scandals forty years ago. And that even the Supreme Court in its heinous “Citizens United” decision upheld the constitutionality of disclosure requirements on corporations and other outside groups.
Mitch McConnell wants to give some cover to his Republican colleagues who will be voting later this month or early next month on the bill to force full disclosure of corporate political expenses. But his speech at the American Enterprise Institute doesn’t provide cover. It cloaks the whole Republican enterprise in hypocrisy.
- Just like us: Why Republicans worry about corporate feelings (csmonitor.com)
- Why the GOP worries about corporate feelings (salon.com)
- Robert Reich: Corporate Feelings (guernicamag.com)
- Corporate Feelings (wallstreetpit.com)
- GOP Senators: No disclosure, please (salon.com)
- Hugh Hewitt: GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on the President’s Speech, Campaign Finance Reform and Eric Holder (hughhewitt.com)
- Incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Wants to Keep Billionaire GOP Donors Secret (goodolewoody.wordpress.com)
- McConnell makes the case for secret donations (maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- McConnell calls Obama ‘thuggish’ over opposition to Citizens United (rawstory.com)
- McConnell: Obama a threat to First Amendment (washingtontimes.com)
GOP: Why Give Women Equal Pay? They’ll Just Spend it on Shoes
June 7, 2012
This week the Paycheck Fairness Act, which calls for equal pay for women in the workplace, was blocked in the Senate after failing to get the 60 votes required to stop a Republican filibuster.
While many Republicans have declined to comment on the bill, Representative Scott Brown of Massachusetts confirmed to reporters that he had voted against the legislation, adding that he didn’t understand “what all the fuss was about with all this equal pay for women stuff.”
“Sure, recent studies have shown that women in the US earn, on average, about 77 cents for every dollar that men earn,” he admitted. “But let’s remember, we’re talking about women here. Even if they did earn that extra 23 cents on the dollar, they’d just blow it on manicures and makeup and Ryan Gosling movies anyway.”
Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana agreed, expressing confidence that letting the bill die was in the best interests of most Americans.
“Women are notoriously bad with money,” he said. “I’ve noticed that many of them still don’t seem to understand the value of a dollar—or, in their case, the value of 77 cents. Maybe continuing to earn less than men will help teach our girls how to save.”
Democratic legislators have argued that this significant wage gap adds up over a lifetime, costing the average working woman hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings and impacting her pension and Social security benefits in later years.
“The best solution to the wage gap issue is for women not to work at all,” Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told reporters during a recent press conference. “Instead they should stay home with the kids, tend to the garden and stables, and keep the housekeepers out of trouble. It worked for my wife,” he said with a wink.
Conservatives are also concerned that the legislation, if passed, could affect corporate profits.
“If this job-killing bill becomes law, it will make it more difficult for companies to continue paying women less than they pay men for doing the same job,” said Jim Rawlins, a spokesman for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. “And where is that extra money supposed to come from? There is a chance that such costs could negatively impact well-deserved CEO bonus pay and shareholder stocks.”
He added, “Not only that, but in this economy, if corporations are forced to pay equally for equal work, they will likely hire fewer female employees, since they will suddenly be less of a bargain. That’s bad news for unemployed women.” He shrugged. “Times are tough. Maybe women should stop complaining and just take what they can get.”
“Ultimately, women are supposed to work for free, in the home,” said Arizona Senator Jon Kyl. “They should be grateful that we’re allowing them to go into the office at all, let alone that we’re paying them in actual money, rather than in babies and the occasional tennis bracelet.”
He added, “You’re welcome, ladies.”
- Republicans Block Dems’ Equal Pay For Women Bill (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- The Senate Kills the Paycheck Fairness Act, So What Else Is New? (blogher.com)
- Senate Republicans Block Pay Equity Bill (nytimes.com)
- Paycheck Fairness Act fails in Senate (politico.com)
- Senate debating Paycheck Fairness Act Monday, but Republicans remain opposed to fair pay (dailykos.com)
- The Paycheck Fairness Act’s realpolitik | Naomi Wolf (guardian.co.uk)
- Equal Pay for Women: A Birthday and a Bill Dies (laborlawposter.com)
- Paycheck Fairness Act Blocked By Senate Republicans (patheos.com)
- GOP Resistant As Dems Tout Equal Pay For Women Bill (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Republicans Shoot Down ‘Equal Pay’ Bill (inquisitr.com)