06.29.2012 0

Big government incentivizes commercialization of politics

Our National DebtBy Rachel Swaffer — In 2010 liberal grant-making mega-foundations Tides Center, Ford Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund gave a combined total of $203,583,000 to liberal think-tanks, activist groups, and political action committees.

Surprised? You should be.

For years the liberal media has been throwing a tantrum about conservative political spending; they would have us all believe that corrupt conservative activists are buying politics. And since the release of Robert Greenwald’s new film “Koch Brothers Exposed” Democrat outrage at privately funded conservative organizations such as the Tea Party movement, Americans for Limited Government, the Heritage Center, and Cato Institute has soared to near apoplectic levels. For example, for every dollar the Koch brothers donated to a free-market organization, progressive bankrollers Ford Foundation and Tides are now spending at least another $23 in retaliation, according 990 tax forms from the hotly-contested 2010 election cycle.

And the activities of these liberal funders are far from transparent. Basic research into these organizations reveals an impenetrable maze trail of offshore accounts, and backroom fund transfers before the money actually heads off to fund liberal organizations like PETA, NARAL, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Media Matters, the Center for American Progress, and countless others.

A quick look at Ford Foundation’s 2010 tax return shows that the overwhelming majority (about 75 percent) of Ford’s charitable donations are directed toward politically significant and/or activist groups.  In comparison, Greenwald’s favorite conservative target — Koch Foundation, Inc donated over $10 million dollars to religious, educational, and charitable institutions in 2010; this apolitical charity accounts for 99 percent of Koch dollars according to tax records.

It’s not clear whether Greenwald is delusional or simply uniformed. Though Greenwald wants to paint the issue of money in politics as a purely conservative problem, in reality the situation is quite bipartisan; liberal and conservative grant-making institutions engage in exactly the same practices — funding countless think tanks and policy organizations that support their political agenda.

In reality, conservatives are merely attempting to even the playing field as liberal foundations are pouring donations into progressive organizations on a level that far surpasses anything going on in the free market advocacy side of the argument.

This cash-swollen structure of politics is a symptom of a cancerous, sick system wherein the government has jurisdiction over practically every aspect of our lives, making every issue inherently political.  A bureaucratic monster state with the power to hand out virtually unlimited favors and benefits incentivizes the commercialization of politics as a business.

When businesses find themselves in the unfortunate situation where their success or failure depends on the brush of a bureaucrat’s pen rather than their actual worth or economic viability, they are necessarily forced to become politically active — since the passage of a single new regulation can literally destroy them.  Given this incentive for political activism, it’s obvious that you won’t get the money out of Washington until you get Washington out of our everyday lives.

Rachel Swaffer is a staff writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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