William Hamilton: Shopping decisions: Left versus Right
June 9, 2011
Many Americans dutifully make financial contributions to the political party they favor and/or to the political candidates whom they want to see elected and/or to charitable organization whose goals they favor.
In the case of political candidates, campaigns and political parties at the national level, those financial contributions are reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) which, eventually, makes public who gave what and to whom. In a free and open society, that is as it should be.
Yet, when asked if they make financial donations to political parties, causes or candidates, there are other Americans who will flatly state that giving money to political parties, candidates or causes is something they do not do. And yet, they do. They just do not know it.
Here is how it works: Virtually, every organization in America, be it a labor union, or a business corporation or company, or any group seeking special-interest legislation or some kind of favored treatment by elected officials contributes dollars to certain political parties and/or candidates. As we will see in the upcoming presidential election cycle for 2012, billions of dollars will be amassed from union dues, from corporate profits, and from special-interest group fundraising
Back in 2001, after careful research of FEC records, a group of liberals published an online consumers’ guide listing, by corporation, the percentage of corporate political donations that went to conservative candidates and causes and also the percentage of corporate political donations going to liberal candidates and causes. The idea, of course, was to get liberals to boycott the conservative-leaning businesses and to spend their money, instead, with liberal-leaning businesses.
But, by failing to recognize the Law of Unintended Consequences, the BuyBlue.org liberals were also pointing conservatives toward those businesses that contribute to the Republican National Committee and to conservative political candidates and causes. Eventually, BuyBlue.org failed.
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But the data are still available. In, 2006, the liberal-leaning PoliPoint Press published The Blue Pages: A Directory of Companies Rated by Their Politics and Practices. According to The Blue Pages, if you are a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who does not mind shopping at big-box stores, you should head for COSTCO, which gives 99-percent of its political donations to Democrats and ranks nationally as one of the top-10 Democrat contributors.
If you a true conservative, not a Republican-in-name-only (RINO), then head for Sam’s Club, which gives 100 percent to Republicans. Moreover, the parent corporation of Sam’s Club is Wal-Mart, which gives 78 percent to the GOP and 22 percent to Democrats.
Most of us do not have big bucks to give to our favorite political parties, candidates, or causes. Ergo: What few dollars we have need to count for our side. So, in a larger sense, the BuyBlue.org idea was sound. Why would any one of sound mind, armed with the data from The Blue Pages, knowingly hand their hard-earned dollars over to their political enemies?
Granted, some corporations use their donations to walk both sides of the political street. In The Blue Pages, you can find lots of corporations who give half to Democrats and half to Republicans. Interestingly, the big Wall Street brokerages and investment banking houses give most of their money to Democrats. Wonder if that is why the O’Bamessiahs bailed them out first?
The editorial content of The Blue Pages suggests that the corporations that give most of their money to Democrats are on the side of sweetness and light while the corporations that give most of their money to Republicans are on the side of darkness and evil. That kind of editorial bias did not, however, prevent this researcher from buying a copy via Amazon.com (61 percent to the GOP and 39 percent to the Dems). For people who care where their money ends up politically, The Blue Pages provide a handy shopping guide.
– Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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