Corporations aren’t funding campaigns after all?

When the Supreme Court ruled that the law limiting corporate contributions was an infringement of the right to free speech, the conventional wisdom was–and is–that now big businesses will buy politicians by funding their elections.  But it hasn’t turned out that way.  Corporations aren’t giving much money at all to political candidates.

The ruling allowing unlimited “corporate” giving–”corporate” meaning collective organizations, not just business corporations–is indeed magnifying the reach of  issue-driven organizations, which would be in accord with free political speech.  And wealthy individuals, such as George Soros and the Koch brothers (notice how those who demonize one don’t demonize the other), can throw their weight around with their money.  One might still worry about the influence of campaign contributions.  But the point here is that business corporations are not, on the whole, giving many political contributions.  They have found that giving money to politicians can just alienate some of their customers and that they can get more influence for their buck by hiring lobbyists. [Read more...]

Politics in the biggest “hinge moment” since the industrial revolution?

Political thinkers are pondering recent claims that we are in the midst of an epic  transition that will rival the industrial revolution, wondering what difference these changes will make politically.  The projections deal with technology but also demographics, as whites will soon become an aged minority in the United States.

So far the political implications being heralded are that the midwest will fade in political clout in favor of growing ethnically-diverse states.  And that Republicans need to reach out to immigrants.  But if we are going through a change bigger than the industrial revolution, there is surely more to it than that!

After the jump, an excerpt and a link to a much-talked about article in Politico, followed by an excerpt and a link to Peter Wehner’s discussion of what this needs to mean for Republicans.  But then I will weigh in on what these political analyses are missing. [Read more...]

Social Capital and the Opportunity Gap

More on Robert Putnam and his book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, on the class gap in raising children.  The Chronicle of Higher Education tells about how Putnam came upon his thesis and conducted his research.  The article also tells about the neo-traditional “Ozzie and Harriet” families that have come back in middle class families, even as working class families are often abandoning marriage altogether.  It also talks about the religious gap, with middle class families taking their kids to church, while working class families are abandoning churchgoing altogether.  (We’ll be talking further about this last point.) [Read more...]

Where your tax dollars go

The Heritage Foundation has an interesting report entitled  The Breakdown of Where Your Tax Dollars Go.  After the jump, an informative graphic. [Read more...]

From Big Brother to lots of Little Brothers

A review of two books on what today’s technology does to privacy quotes a useful metaphor from one of the authors.  George Orwell warned against “Big Brother,” an all-knowing government that wants to track your every move.  Today the bigger threat is from lots of “Little Brothers,” a multitude of corporations, companies, and online mechanisms that want to track your every move. [Read more...]

It’s the family, stupid

Before Robert Putnam there was Patrick Moynihan, the social scientist and later Democratic Senator from New York, who pointed to the dire social and economic consequences when children are not raised by intact families.  His research to this effect came out 50 years ago.  He was studying African-Americans, who back in 1960 had a birthrate to unmarried mothers of 23.6%, which Moynihan believed kept them trapped in poverty, crime, and bad schools.  Today, the unmarried birth rate of all races is more than twice that.

George Will discusses Moynihan’s findings and gives some striking quotations. [Read more...]


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