Monday, January 25, 2010

Letting Big Biz Buy and Sell Politicians May Be Economic Boon

WASHINGTON, DC - While the Supreme Court's decision last week to allow corporations to spend unlimited sums on candidates and elections has been widely derided as a blow to democracy, many economists are hailing the ruling as an economic boon. In the past, if a company wanted to influence a politician, they had to funnel their money through political action committees. Now they are free to buy the politician outright, which could open up a whole new sector of the economy.

"Once a company actually owns a politician," explains economist Milton Feltcher, "they can then resell that politician to another company." Feltcher uses the case of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-DE). "Insurance companies have given him over $2 million over the years, but insurance only becomes a legislative issue every couple of decades. Now Blue Cross can buy Lieberman for the healthcare vote and then recoup their expense by selling him to someone like Disney, either to represent their interests in upcoming telecommunications legislation, or possibly to play a singing rodent at one of their theme parks."

"For that matter," Feltcher adds, "Lieberman could be sliced up and repackaged with other senators to be sold as 'senatorial derivatives.'" Feltcher even imagines a future in which shares of elected officials could be traded publicly on the stock market, "thereby allowing the American public to feel like they have a small stake in our government." Of course the likelihood of anyone other than the largest investors having an actual say in the democratic process Feltcher admits is "strictly theoretical."

1 comment:

  1. I have been an admirer of Milton Fletcher ever since he and I were in the same Ph.D program in the Economics area. His insights and perceptions about the true nature of how economics functions and determines our world is nothing short of genius. Soon to be recognized by the Nobel Committee I would guess.