The Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney, author of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, spoke at a conclave of right-wingers last year. Carney acknowledges that event, sponsored by the Koch brothers, was so secret that he publicly wrote about it at the time. Now, a blogger at the Center for American Progress is attacking Carney for ignoring how much the Republican party is in the thrall of corporations.
Carney, in turn, acquits himself and shines a bright light on how companies like Wal-Mart, out of its own corporate interest, worked hand-in-hand with the Center for American Progress to pass Obamacare:
Review that guest list again from the Koch event. Here are some company names you don’t see: Wal-Mart, Exxon, Chevron, or General Electric. Those are the four biggest companies in America, so they might count as good representatives of “big business.”
I’ll come back to the Koch confab, but let’s talk about the agendas of the biggest big businesses.
Wal-Mart — a donor of at least $500,000 and possibly as much as $999,999 to the Center for American Progress, which employs Yglesias and Fang — teamed up with CAP in 2009 to push for an employer mandate on health-care. This mandate threatens smaller retailers (and everyone is smaller than Wal-Mart), but Yglesias, celebrated it as “an important sign of change in the air.”
But this wasn’t a recent change for Wal-Mart. As I pointed out at the time, the company had backed climate legislation and minimum wage hikes for years. So, contrary to Yglesias, I’d say the agenda of the nation’s largest company is pretty darn distinguishable from that of the Republican Party.
Exxon and Chevron tend to be pretty closely in sync with the GOP, although individuals from those companies gave more to Obama than to McCain in 2008. They are also mostly free-market companies (good for them), unlike their more rent-seeking competitors BP, Conoco, and Shell, which have pretty solid big-government resumes.
Then there’s General Electric. This one is too easy. Let’s see. GE has teamed up with the Democrats on cap-and-trade, light-bulb regulations, embryo-destroying stem-cell research, subsidies for rail, and many other “green” subsidies. Considering that GE spends more on lobbying than any other corporation, it’s a fair representative of big business’s influence in Washington. And GE is pushing for more big government and allying with Democrats against Republicans. Then there’s the matter of that MSNBC channel that GE owns.