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Thread: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    And yet you cite a paper in which Footnote 1 is a long list of articles that do find such links. I'd quote it, but it's quite long and those interested can read it for themselves. Point is, "one study found X" =/= "generally agreed by scholars that X is true."

    Second, the study doesn't actually examine whether PAC contributions affect votes - PACs aren't necessarily ideological but the paper only evaluates ideological voting patterns. It looks at, for example, Am. Conser. Union (ACU) scores and finds that politicians' overall scores don't change much if at all on average in their last term. So, the paper finds that ideological conservatives vote conservative in their final term. It doesn't find that "PAC contributions from the for profit college industry had no effect on votes on higher education loan subsidies." The papers in Footnote 1 do look at PAC contributions ===> PAC votes and find the expected correlation.

    Third, taken at face value, the study indicates big money identifies candidates friendly to their interests on the front end. So Wall Street backs candidates with a history of supporting Wall Street, and their huge war chest helps them get elected and reelected. That the Wall Street friendly candidates vote that way even in their last term doesn't mean the money from Wall Street had no effect.

    Finally, I don't think the PACs and other big donors are stupid - they know the money they spend has an effect.

    Here is one passage:



    I'm not sure what the importance is of those distinctions. And it's not an either/or question - almost surely it's both. PACs influence votes and PAC money helps elect members friendly to that PAC's interests.




    Well, I did read the whole study, briefly, but I suppose you'll claim vindication because I didn't accept that the findings prove what you think they proved. If you care about what is true and correct, maybe you'll have some response to the points I raised.
    My response is that you can cherry pick little factoids and disregard the overall findings if that suits your political agenda, but it's not an intellectually honest take on this.
    You can't reason anyone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into in the first place.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa bull View Post
    My response is that you can cherry pick little factoids and disregard the overall findings if that suits your political agenda, but it's not an intellectually honest take on this.
    Why not? Let's start with just one question. Do you think the people who fund PACs and donate millions to candidates are stupid and don't realize that their money has no effect?

    IMO, they're very sophisticated groups and know exactly how much influence money has on the process and end results, and that it's probably the best investment the firms behind the PACs make all year in terms of ROI.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    Why not? Let's start with just one question. Do you think the people who fund PACs and donate millions to candidates are stupid and don't realize that their money has no effect?
    Who said it had no effect? That's a stupid thing to assert and I didn't assert it. That's YOUR assertion. It has a very important effect. The campaign donations to the people/party that best represent your views help the politicians that best represent your views get elected by funding their travel and campaign spending. That's an important effect. I'm surprised you don't see that.

    IMO, they're very sophisticated groups and know exactly how much influence money has on the process and end results, and that it's probably the best investment the firms behind the PACs make all year in terms of ROI.
    But of course you believe that. And I wouldn't expect the facts and analysis in that study to change what you believe because I know you really want to believe it very much.
    You can't reason anyone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into in the first place.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa bull View Post
    Who said it had no effect? That's a stupid thing to assert and I didn't assert it. That's YOUR assertion. It has a very important effect. The campaign donations to the people/party that best represent your views help the politicians that best represent your views get elected by funding their travel and campaign spending. That's an important effect. I'm surprised you don't see that.

    But of course you believe that. And I wouldn't expect the facts and analysis in that study to change what you believe because I know you really want to believe it very much.
    We're arguing in circles. What I said was it doesn't matter whether the money gets (e.g.) Wall Street lackeys elected, or whether the money influences votes after they get elected. It's probably both and in any case the money is buying influence.

    So then you say, "[The money] has a very important effect." Which is of course what I said - so we agree, the money matters a great deal - it's "important."

    But then in the same post you say I'm somehow wrong for believing "it's probably the best investment... in terms of ROI." Well you just said the money was important, so are we just disagreeing on HOW important and whether the ROI of a 100k in employee training is higher or lower than $100,000 into the PAC funneled to the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee? I guess we can agree to disagree on that.

    And BTW, again, "one study finds X" really doesn't mean that the academic community agrees that X is true. Reread Footnote 1 to your paper.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    We're arguing in circles. What I said was it doesn't matter whether the money gets (e.g.) Wall Street lackeys elected, or whether the money influences votes after they get elected. It's probably both and in any case the money is buying influence.

    So then you say, "[The money] has a very important effect." Which is of course what I said - so we agree, the money matters a great deal - it's "important."

    But then in the same post you say I'm somehow wrong for believing "it's probably the best investment... in terms of ROI." Well you just said the money was important, so are we just disagreeing on HOW important and whether the ROI of a 100k in employee training is higher or lower than $100,000 into the PAC funneled to the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee? I guess we can agree to disagree on that.

    And BTW, again, "one study finds X" really doesn't mean that the academic community agrees that X is true. Reread Footnote 1 to your paper.
    We are arguing in circles but that's not my fault.

    The study I posted demonstrates that there is no evidence that campaign donations buys the politician's votes on legislation (a claim frequently made but unsupportable).

    The fact that campaign donations DO help a candidate pay their bills on the campaign trail isn't a problem. That's just you and me and everyone else supporting the candidates that we think will best represent our own interests. That is, however, NOT buying influence. The fact that you're helping the guy YOU want to get elected by donating to his campaign (or taking out ads asking people to vote for him) doesn't "buy you influence". The candidate is going to vote on legislation however he votes on legislation (and unless you are a fool, you should know where he'll stand if you're going to support him.)

    There is no "return on investment". You don't even know if your guy will get elected. You just pony up your donations to help the guy that YOU want to get elected. There's nothing at all nefarious about that.

    If you want to dispute the facts or the reasoning of that paper, go ahead and give it your best shot. Provide evidence that contradicts it and we'll see what you've got and how much weight to give it vs. the facts and analysis we see in that study.

    I know it just chaffs you something awful that free speech was supported by the Supreme Court via the Citizens United decision, but the decision was right and you might as well just get used to it. Screeching that "campaign donations buy votes" doesn't make it true and it isn't going to reverse Citizens United. You might as well get used to the fact that free speech applies to everyone and not just to those people and groups you support and like.
    Last edited by Papa bull; 02-03-15 at 05:26 PM.
    You can't reason anyone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into in the first place.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by whysoserious View Post
    Am I a Marxist? What makes unrepresented a Marxist? What makes Bill and Melinda Gates, Matt Damon, or George Soros not Marxists in comparison?

    We've already established that, since I am left of center, I am a liar. So now let's get into whether or not I am a Marxist.
    Do you believe that the rich ought to pay of a percentage of their wealth to fund government programs intended to transfer wealth to government workers and "the poor"? If so you just might be a Marxist.
    Do you believe that some should rule over the many because the many must be led (the dictatorship of the protes)?
    If so you just might be a Marxist.

    Do you believe that the productive steal from the poor?
    If so you just might be a Marxist.

    Do you believe that capitalism must be weakened or even destroyed for equality's sake?
    If so you just might be a Marxist.

    Do you believe that the government must dominate and control everything for the sake of fairness?
    If so you just might be a neo-Marxist.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Unrepresented View Post
    Authoritarian government being bad doesn't mean that excessive wealth, and the excessive influence it buys, isn't bad as well.
    "Excessive wealth" is a phrase Marxists and neo-Marxists use. One either has a right to one's property or one does not. If one believes the former one very likely supports individual liberty and individual freedoms. If one believes the latter than one is likely a collectivist with his greedy eyes on someone else's property. One who believes the latter very likely has the heart of a Marxist and a tyrant.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Unrepresented View Post
    We are all tied together. The actions of anyone impact everyone.

    It's my business when I'm being impacted by wealth buying votes.

    False dichotomy. Both the corrupted and the corruptors are bad.
    Perhaps you should fight to eliminate the massive amounts of legal plunder that occurs now at the Federal level. If we reject legal plunder then political power will be far less damaging to the nation and its people.

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Unrepresented View Post
    I'm advocating for more equal access to influence. Bigger pockets shouldn't justify a greater access.
    Should the individuals who pay the majority of the bills have more, equal, or less influence that someone who receives the benefits without paying for them?

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    Re: Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa bull View Post
    We are arguing in circles but that's not my fault.

    The study I posted demonstrates that there is no evidence that campaign donations buys the politician's votes on legislation (a claim frequently made but unsupportable).
    Of course I explained why that's misleading, but you ignored that point. It says that PAC donations don't affect the overall score by five ideological groups. It doesn't even examine whether, say, donations from an insurance PAC affect a key vote affecting the insurance industry.

    The fact that campaign donations DO help a candidate pay their bills on the campaign trail isn't a problem. That's just you and me and everyone else supporting the candidates that we think will best represent our own interests. That is, however, NOT buying influence. The fact that you're helping the guy YOU want to get elected by donating to his campaign (or taking out ads asking people to vote for him) doesn't "buy you influence". The candidate is going to vote on legislation however he votes on legislation (and unless you are a fool, you should know where he'll stand if you're going to support him.)
    And if the money doesn't buy "influence" then what does it buy? The election of person who reliably votes according to your interests, apparently. I just see those as distinctions without a meaningful difference. Look what happened in Kansas - a few GOPers voted against the tax cuts. What happened? Koch and other interests poured tons of money into those races and unseated all those moderate GOPers. You're trying to tell me that spending doesn't buy influence. It's naive, and ludicrous. Of course it buys influence - it's a hammer over the head of anyone in Kansas who takes a position opposite AFP.

    There is no "return on investment". You don't even know if your guy will get elected. You just pony up your donations to help the guy that YOU want to get elected. There's nothing at all nefarious about that.
    Yeah, and you never know if your investment in equipment will pay off. So what?

    If you want to dispute the facts or the reasoning of that paper, go ahead and give it your best shot. Provide evidence that contradicts it and we'll see what you've got and how much weight to give it vs. the facts and analysis we see in that study.
    I already have challenged your interpretation of the paper.

    I know it just chaffs you something awful that free speech was supported by the Supreme Court via the Citizens United decision, but the decision was right and you might as well just get used to it. Screeching that "campaign donations buy votes" doesn't make it true and it isn't going to reverse Citizens United. You might as well get used to the fact that free speech applies to everyone and not just to those people and groups you support and like.
    Of course, I don't support the billionaires on my side becoming king makers either. It's a recipe for plutocracy - dueling billionaires. I guess if you're right, might as well get used to that.

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