Monday, November 19, 2012

Extraordinary Financial Gifts

“What the president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote,” Romney said during a call with campaign donors Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Republicans are distancing themselves from Romney's comment.  Here's a prime example: 
“We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote. If we want people to like us, we have to like them first. And you don’t start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party,” Jindal said.

OK, but not dissing most of the population is only one reason to pull back from this comment. But whose supporters get the most extraordinary financial gifts?

More likely the Republicans don't want people to start talking about the much more direct and lucrative financial benefits they send their supporters.  After all, corporations would not be meeting their legal obligations to their shareholders if their political contributions weren't investments to increase their corporations' future income. 

And political investments seem to be remarkably efficient and lucrative for those who are skilled at it. 
The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this bad since the Roaring Twenties

Read more:
The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this bad since the Roaring Twenties

Read more:

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) reports on Pentagon Contractors, – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon:
  • The average worker in the U.S. earned $45,230 last year. These CEOs were paid more in an average day than the average American worker was paid all of last year.
  • According to a 2011 Congressional Budget Office analysis, the median compensation (including basic pay, allowances for food and housing, and tax advantages) for enlisted U.S. military personnel with ten years of experience was about $64,000. Thus, the Pentagon could afford to pay the salary of 335 soldiers with the money from just one top defense contractor’s compensation package.
  • The CEOs of these top Pentagon contractors are also making significantly more than their own workers. According to a Deloitte study, the average wage (just salary, not benefits) for the entire aerospace and defense industry in 2010 was $80,175. For the price of one CEO then, these firms could pay the salary of 268 defense and aerospace industry workers.
  • Even compared to other CEOs these Pentagon executives are making an enormous amount of money. An Associated Press study of S&P 500 CEO’s (i.e. the largest publicly traded companies) found that the typical CEO received $9.6 million in total compensation last year. Thus, the top Pentagon contractors could afford two CEOs with the compensation they’re using to pay their current CEOs.
These five CEOs weren’t even the highest paid heads of Pentagon contractors. That honor goes to David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, whose $35.7 million compensation package made him the sixth highest paid CEO in the U.S. last year, according to the Associated Press study.

Now these companies know enough that they have to give to both parties, but they seem, over time, to give more to that party that seems to think that military power is the best way to lead the world and got us into the Iraq war.  The chart below from Open Secrets
shows political contributions by defense contractors:

Screen shot from Open Secrets

And the accumulated effects of Republican tax policies and deregulation have resulted in the greatest wealth disparity in over half a century.  (And they couldn't have done this without the cooperation of Democrats.)

Business Insider offers 15 charts in "15 mindblowing facts about income wealth and distribution in America" starting with one titled,
"The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this great since the Roaring Twenties."

The other 14 charts are of interest too.

And, by the way, if Obama was trying to help the 99%, and minorities in particular, maybe that was good policy.

The Washington Post shows us that minorities were hurt from Bush policies way more than whites in the recession:

Between 2005 and 2009, the median net worth of Hispanic households dropped by 66 percent and that of black households fell by 53 percent, according to the report. In contrast, the median net worth of white households dropped by only 16 percent.
The median net worth of a white family now stands at 20 times that of a black family and 18 times that of a Hispanic family — roughly twice the gap that existed before the recession and the biggest gap since data began being collected in 1984.
So, yeah, I think Republicans, probably are acting rationally, finally, when they start distancing themselves from Romney's remarks.   Oh, that last line of Jindal's "We are an aspirational party."  I don't think you're there yet.  Success used to be much easier for white males because of the all the extra barriers non-white folks and women faced.  While many still exist, many have come down and now white males have to work harder to get what they used to get coasting.  And I suspect that's behind a lot of Republican anger.  See this Jon Stewart riff on O'Reilly and Goldberg complaining about losing traditional America. 

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