August 08, 2003
Rich Dems target GOP

In this AP article from Yahoo! news, it is noted that another wealthy billionaire has donated vast sums of money to defeat Bush in 2004. George Soros, who gleefully makes gobs of money from the free market and globalization, while spending it supporting candidates who are implacably hostile to capitalism. Soros apparently sees no conflict between the two activities, however, which is puzzling to me. The man is obviously not stupid, but he either is not paying close attention to what they are saying, or he really doesn't believe that they will implement their ideas if elected, which raises a whole 'nother set of issues.

There are a few ironies in the article. Try this for example:

Under the nation's new campaign finance law, the group must remain separate from the Democratic Party to accept contributions on the scale of what Soros has pledged. The law bans national party committees from accepting contributions of that size from any source.

It's not an arm of the Democratic Party, but all of the officers are hard-core Democrats, including the leader of EMILY'S List, which is a narrowly-focused Dem special-interest group (they give money exclusively to pro-chioce Democratic women). I assume that they are analogous to the independent group that ran the Willie Horton ad against Dukakis in 1988 (you know, the one that the Democrats still bring up to insinuate racism in the Republican Party).

Another howler is this one:

In addition to Soros' pledge of $10 million, the PAC has raised $8 million from labor groups and a total of $12 million from several individuals, Malcolm said. The donors include Louis and Dorothy Cullman, who helped finance the newspaper ad with Soros; Anne Bartley, former president of the Rockefeller Family Fund; Peter Lewis, founder of Progressive Insurance; Patricia Bauman, head of the Bauman Family Foundation; and Rob McKay, head of the McKay Family Foundation. Malcolm declined to say how much each committed.

Remember, the Democrats constantly tell us that the GOP is the group beholden to deep-pocketed fat cats, yet Soros alone kicked in $10 million, and the other six (two of whom are married) kicked in another $12 million. I hate to break it to McAuliffe, but that kind of spending qualifies his supporters as very rich indeed. And of course, the Democrats don't like shining the light of day on fundraising activities, as they have steadfastly refused to released their donor demographics, unlike their counterparts in the GOP.

posted on August 08, 2003 07:47 PM



Comments:

Soros is an excellent example of two tendencies among those who have recently (i.e., within the past three or four generations) achieved great financial success:
-- an undeserved sense of guilt over it;
-- an unadmitted desire to prevent anyone from replicating it.

These two tendencies don't often occur together; Soros is an unusual specimen of his kind. Still, when you survey the behavior of rich persons of the century past and compare it to that of the great nineteenth century capitalists and industrialists, you simply can't help asking what's changed.

Ludwig von Mises's little book The Anti-Capitalist Mentality is illuminating in this connection, as is Helmut Schoeck's blockbuster Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour.

posted by Francis W. Porretto on August 9, 2003 04:01 AM


"George Soros, who gleefully makes gobs of money from the free market and globalization, while spending it supporting candidates who are implacably hostile to capitalism. Soros apparently sees no conflict between the two activities, however, which is puzzling to me. The man is obviously not stupid, but he either is not paying close attention to what they are saying, or he really doesn't believe that they will implement their ideas if elected, which raises a whole 'nother set of issues."

I have seen these types of comments from time to time, so I thought I would respond.

First, it is possible to work a system without believing that that system is a GOOD one. Therefore, Soro's action are not inconsistant, nor do they betray a weak mind. He finds himself in a world that has a system that he does not believe in...is he supposed to be poor, then? Should he supress his talents for this reason? I think not. It is not irrational to use the system for all it's worth, and then donate to causes that undermine that very system...on the contrary, it is the wisest course of action possible! Indeed, it is the only course left open to him. While I do not agree with Mr. Soro's views, (at least so far as I have heard them) I suport his actions. Your "puzzulement" leaves me puzzuled. What else would you have him do?

posted by Xiaoding on August 13, 2003 06:27 AM


Here's a thought: ask questions, then shoot from the hip.

If you're really interested in what Soros is thinking, read his book "The Crisis of Global Capitalism" -- google it, you'll find excerpts of its most important parts.

Like this:
http://www.businessweek.com/chapter/soros.htm

What pains me and frustrates the pace of solutions to real problems in this country -- e.g., our faltering health care system and its impact on productivity or, even, human rights -- is how quickly we repeat tired cliches about Democrats being anti-capitalists or Republican being pro-capitalists or, for that matter, that all politicians are careerists intent on using money to preserve their access to power and, thus, more money. (Explain Sen. McCain or Mayor Bloomberg or Barry Goldwater?)

Not all Republicans respect the free market. Any Republican (or Democrat) who has indulged in irrational protectionism through tariffs or subsidies to benefit a special interest group is not a true capitalist.

Any Republican (or Democrat) who favors back-room dealings in a country club or at the White House instead of open and transparent bidding and competition for services and goods is not a true capitalist.

Any Republican (or Democrat) who manipulates insider knowledge on, say, energy markets in order to determine national domestic and foreign policy so as to favor one industry over another is not a true capitalist.

A true capitalist believes and practices transparency -- from pricing to quality control to oversight -- and those are not principles exclusive or even inherent to either of our nation's dominant political parties.

Instead of repeating cliches about parties and their supposed ideological differences, consider that there are fundamental questions unanswered in such myths -- mainly, where to draw the limit between capitalism (an economic model) and the sovereignty and well-being of a state.

What's good for GM (moving all of its factories to China and selling its vehicles at the exact same prices as it does today) is *not* necessarily good for America.

Consider, this bipartisan bill to punish companies that incorporate offshore (outside of the U.S.) in order to skip on corporate taxes, while its shareholders, its board and executive directors, continue to live and enjoy the benefits of citizenship in the United States?

http://www.washingtontechnology.com/news/1_1/daily_news/18544-1.html

Is what's good for a company's bottom line necessarily what's good for the stability and health of a country? How would an offshore company help pay for the Predator drones, AWACS and cruise missiles that protect its assets in the U.S. of A. and abroad?

Does the army of Switzerland keep global conflicts in check for the benefit of those who have Swiss bank accounts? No, Virigina, the U.S. government (and, importantly, U.S. taxpayers) keep regional tensions in check in order to grease the machinery of global capitalism.

I cite these examples because it is not always possible to equate a political decision with one's stance towards capitalism. Thus, it may be possible for Soros to disapprove of this Republican president while still believing that a) governments have an important role to play in determine the health of markets; b) markets should not always dictate the health of a state; c) capitalism is the best model for creating jobs, improving the quality of goods and services.

If you believe Bush is a proponent of open and transparent methods for protecting the stability of capitalism, please be ready to explain why the SEC has been eviscerated in the wake of grave (and, in the long-term, quite destructive) insider-trading scandals on Wall St.

If you believe that the Bush-sponsored tax cut is more than a political ploy aimed at securing his popularity among a highly vocal minorty of ideologically-driven voters, please be ready to demonstrate how it is that those tax-cuts will allow state governments -- many of which are run by Republicans -- to escape from staggering deficits? For how can a bankrupt state (including states that have been dominated by Republicans for the last 8 years) provide the basic infrastructure necessary to sustain investments and job growth?

Just a thought.

posted by jose on August 14, 2003 12:21 PM





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