Corporation being all corporationy

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While I think the ABC produce a lot of good political content, analysis of American politics is not one of their strengths.

Particularly on the radio programs, American pundits seem to get co-opted into playing to ABC prejudices rather than providing clear analysis on the political situation.

Take tonight’s PM story on the US debt deal. This is how presenter Brendan Trembath introduced the story:

TREMBATH: Leaders of the conservative tea party movement are claiming victory. The deal has raised questions about the power of the Tea Party on American politics and the growing influence of the corporations that back the group.

Notice the “raised questions about” (very Yes, Minister) and the subtle introduction of the shadowy influence of corporations.

Trembath then asked Andy Kroll, from the liberal (my label not the ABC’s) Mother Jones website a leading question: (Has a leftwing commentator ever been identified as such on the ABC?)

TREMBATH: What sort of corporations are behind the Tea Party?

KROLL: Well the biggest one and the one that seems to come up a lot is Koch industries, this is the multi-billion conglomerate, owned by the David and Charles Koch, the Koch brothers, were seen as seeding or planting the roots for what became the Tea Party. The main vehicle for that was the political advocacy group started by David Koch called Americans for Prosperity.

And what sort of nefarious activities have these fat cats been up to?

KROLL: Americans for Prosperity has trained Tea Party members, it has bused in Tea Party members for crucial events, it has spent money on political advertising to support Tea Party candidates and so there is no denying that while there is a grass roots element, a just sort of raw energy to the Tea Party movement, or at least there was, you had priming the pump if you will were the Koch brothers and the industries they fund.

Gosh, one corporation! And they are busing people to events! What other democratic rights might they ensnare people into acting on next? Perhaps voting!

And for comparison, let’s just look at the corporations that donated to Obama’s 2008 election campaign: Goldman Sachs ($1.01 million), Microsoft Corp ($852,000), Google ($815,000), JP Morgan Chase & Co ($808,000), Citigroup ($736,000), etc …

Has the ABC ever done a story on the influence of corporate donations on Obama?

In fairness to Kroll he did reject the nonsense put to him by Trembath that somehow the Tea Party were draining corporate donations from Democrats and Republicans.

KROLL: I still think Wall Street, the big corporations I think they are still going for more traditional candidates. Only because the financial markets were all in a twist on pins and needles this week thinking that we might not lift this debt ceiling here and there might be calamity in financial markets.

All of this would be worthy of parody if it hadn’t already been done.


  1. you are entitled to your opinion but the tea party is made up of economic ignoramuses .

    this debt ceiling agreement will take 0.4 percentage points of economic growth in the USA.

    wow brilliant.

    Have you noticed in every nation that have been forced to introduce austerity measures their budget deficits and debt levels are worse.

    Keynes right again

    1. Have you noticed there are more police around areas of high crime?

      I don’t disagree with Keynes I just don’t think fiscal policy works in practice.

      Monetary policy though I think has a better track record (see in particular evidence that those who came off gold earlier recovered from Depression earlier).

      I support QE and the US might need another round of it.

      Ultimately though I don’t think short-run macro policy is going to be most of the answer to a malaise that is now in its third year.

      Clearly there are bigger structural / micro issues in the US, the most important being the need for both the private and public sectors to deleverage.

      I think pursuing a macro policy which worsens these structural issues is crazy.

  2. Lets talk about the facts:
    • Under baseline scenario, CBO estimates spending over next ten years is 46.1trn. With the deal, that drops to 43.7tn. That’s a drop of 2.4tn. That’s a drop of 5%. Compare to last ten years of spending of 26trn. [1]
    • In 1946, spending was cut 55%. 10m men were thrown into the private labour market. [2] And then the Great Depression Mach II occurred. Oh wait. [3]


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