Majority Still Wants Less Corporate Influence

Gallup Organization released a study showing Americans, by a large majority, want less corporate influence in the U.S.  Unfortunately they aren’t getting it.  Corporate influence is at an all time high. See Fox, Hen House, Economic Advisors and Nice to Advise the King for examples.  The last Congressional election was the most expensive so far, thanks to the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to spend freely on electoral campaigns. From Gallup (graphs at the link):

The large majority of Americans (62%) want major corporations to have less influence in the United States. While this is down from a peak of 68% in 2008, it remains well above the 52% recorded in 2001. Relatively few Americans would prefer to see corporations gain influence, but the 12% recorded this year is the highest to date.

2001-2011 Trend: Preferences for Corporate Influence in the U.S.

The new data come from a Jan. 7-9 Gallup poll. The same survey found 67% of Americans dissatisfied with the size and influence of major corporations in the country today, the highest level since Gallup first asked this question in 2001. Of seven aspects of the United States rated in the poll, Americans are the least satisfied with corporate influence.

2001-2011 Trend: Satisfaction With Size and Influence of Major Corporations in America Today

Republicans are often seen as champions of corporate power — favoring lower corporate tax rates, battling efforts to strengthen labor unions, and advocating less government regulation of business. That is borne out to some degree in the finding that Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats, 36% vs. 16%, to say major corporations should maintain the same level of influence in the country, while, by 73% to 49%, Democrats are much more likely to favor less corporate influence. However, relatively few Republicans, 13% — little different from the 10% of Democrats — believe major corporations should have more influence in the country.

The groups of Americans most likely to favor expanded corporate influence are, perhaps, those least likely to be associated with corporate America: young adults, adults living in low-income households, and those with no college education. This could reflect the lower levels of attention these groups have paid in recent years to controversies involving corporate America, including the Wall Street financial bailout and, prior to that, Enron and other business scandals.

via In U.S., Majority Still Wants Less Corporate Influence.

Lobbyists and Banks

From Michael Perelman:

Lobbyists and Crises

“The International Monetary Fund recently found that banks that spent more to influence policy over the last decade were more likely to take more securitization risks, have larger loan defaults and experience sharper stock falls during crucial points of the crisis.”

Cyran, Robert and James Pethokoukis. 2010. “Formidable Lobbyists.” New York Times (3 March): p. B 2.

I’m assuming you’re referring to the IMF Working Paper 09287 “A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis”
http://bit.ly/bcWjjn

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Why GM’s CEO is out, but no bank CEO is gone

Yesterday the Obama admin forced GM CEO Rick Waggoner to resign as a condition of continued support for GM’s restructuring.  Yet, the administration has not yet demanded any of the banks change management (except AIG & Fannie last Sept), despite the banks using 18-20 times as much bailout money.

Several folks have asked me why? Why the double-standard?  The answer is that in the last 30 years, the banking industry has captured Washington.  Our Treasury Dept officials are ex-bankers and when done in DC they return to banking. The leading economic advisors (Larry Summers now, Bob Rubin and Hank Paulson in past) are either bankers or have long career ties to banking.   This is not a good thing.

Simon Johnson, ex-IMF chief economist, has written analysis of the problem that, while long, is very worthwhile read. He calls the financial industry’s capture of our government’s policy a Quiet Coup.

I have some key excerpts below the fold, but it’s worth checking out the whole article. Continue reading