General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Can you follow the money with me and discuss what is up?

Asked by Cruiser (34999 points ) September 7th, 2012

As an off shoot to ETpros question on the influence on money on this election, I want to ask what your perception is of the very dramatic shift of the winds of fortune from one camp to the other happening in this years election. In 2008 many if not all of Barack’s heavy hitters (whales in Vegas terminology) have jumped over to Romney. And we are talking serious coinage here. As some examples of the top contributors involved in this discussion… (2008 Source) (2012 Source)

Goldman Sachs gave BO $1,013,091 in 2008 and this year gave Romney $676,080 instead.
JPMorgan Chase & Co in 2008 gave BO $808,799 and this year is backing Romney with $520,299.
Citigroup Inc gave BO $736,771 in 2008 and now is giving Romney $363,015 instead.
This one is interesting….General Electric gave BO $529,855 in 2008 and now is showing favor to Romney with $158,800.

This is data from July 31, 2012 and there is still time to toss big bundles of cash but if you do follow the money…the REAL money, the message so far is pretty clear. The big money is on Romney. Any other thoughts on what is at play here?

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27 Answers

tedd's avatar

The sources you’ve listed, while substantial sums of money for sure, are not the big money people are complaining about. The money people are worried is poisoning the system is the money coming from Superpacs. Corporations, billionaires, even foreign nationals can contribute as much as they want without ever even having to be identified. While incredibly unlikely, isn’t it at least a little bit frightening to think that a foreign government could be funneling billions of dollars into a superpac favoring one candidate or the other, for it’s own nefarious reasons?

To put this in prospective for you, you listed several companies that gave money to candidates, totaling roughly 4.8 million dollars (and that’s for both elections, 2008 and 2012). American’s for Prosperity, not even the largest superpac, which is funded entirely by the Koch brothers and about a dozen of their friends.. has committed to spending 1 billion dollars on this election.

That is the influence of money we are afraid of. Over 80% of all superpac money comes from less than 100 people. And more frightening to me and my liberal brethren, over 90% of all superpac money is going to support conservatives.

Money has become speech, and that’s a scary prospect.

tom_g's avatar

@tedd – There is more data on this site. This shows the super PACS.

syz's avatar

What’s at play? The selling of our political system. Sure, money’s always been an influence on politics, but the Citizen’s United decision may well be the worst thing to ever happen to our political system IMO.

And as to your question, I would guess that business see Romney as someone willing to turn back consumer protections, turn back environmental protections, turn back bank regulation, and are going for the short-sighted “what’s in it for me” approach.

Cruiser's avatar

Um @tedd the souce I cited is listing This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2008 election cycle. I would like the discussion to stay centered on this group as this is where the apparent shift of favor suggests quite a bit I would like to discuss.

tedd's avatar

@Cruiser You want to stay focused on that group, but that group is not the reason people are worried about the shift in money. People/corporations who donate to candidates directly are tiny compared to the money raised by the Superpacs.

But if you’d like to talk about the specific numbers you’re claiming, I don’t think Mittens Romney is going to be too excited to broadcast his apparent lock up of support from big business banks that helped wreck our economy, and a company like GE which used loop holes to pay $0 in taxes last year.

Cruiser's avatar

@syz But that begs the question if what you are suggesting is their motivation, what did they see in Barack in 2008 that they are not in 2012?? Why also would they now switch to Romey?

Cruiser's avatar

atta boy @tedd pick out a straw man argument that has ZERO bearing on this discussion. Tax loss carry forwards are completely legal and the direct result of massive losses GE suffered in 2009 and 2010. So I ASSume you are a proponent that a company no matter how big or small should STILL be expected to pay taxes even when struggling with losses. I am sure it is your bassackward line of liberal thinking that has made GE wake up to the fact of the real candidate who can and will get the job done!

tedd's avatar

@Cruiser It could be that they saw Barrack signed onto the TARP bailout (as did basically every other politician), but he wasn’t saddled with a party that had an open-revolt faction like the Tea Party (which was in it’s early pangs), which would’ve outright rejected any further bank help.

Fast forward 4 years, and Obama has made pretty clear he isn’t going to give the banks more money, and enacted various legislation that actually makes them play by the rules and not screw over the American people… and has shown he plans to do even more. Meanwhile the Republicans would be glad to undo anything Obama did and do the exact opposite just to spite him, even if it didn’t make a lick of economic sense.

If I were a Big Bank focused only on profits I’d be backing Romney too.

And with regards to your post confronting me:
-Straw man? You started a debate about money influencing elections and you want to leave superpacs out of it? That’s like me starting a debate about the female body and refusing to allow any females to take part.
-GE’s profits fell in 2009 and 2010, but they most definitely did not suffer losses. They profited over 3 billion dollars in 09 and 14.2 billion in 10. So you should probably check your facts before you spout off wrong information. Or no I’m sorry.. I forgot you probably won’t notice those facts since they don’t agree with your false narrative.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@tedd – Facts need not deter people who oppose Obama’s “failed” policies. Who needs facts when you can simply raise opinions based on preconceived notions you had about an individual and then cherry pick Fox News segments which prove your point. And if you can’t find what you are looking for on Fox news, I am sure you can find some conservative blogs out there that support your talking points. Just call all the factual data and graphs “fuzzy” and misleading.

Cruiser's avatar

I apologize for not being forthright @tedd as it was GE’s Capital division suffered the huge losses which is what triggered the tax loss carryovers for the parent co. GE. What is interesting to read GE Pres Immelt champion tax reform to close these complicated loopholes.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@Cruiser – can you see how someone less informed who didn’t challenge you on the “facts” could simply repeat the rhetoric over and over again until enough people believed it to be true? Do you not feel like this is exactly what the GOP is doing? They are simply spouting untruths, like the Welfare to Work rhetoric Romney is raising. Nowhere, no time did Obama end welfare to work. He simply gave waivers to Governors who had a legitimate plan to cut unemployment by 20%—but those who have preconceived notions that Obama is a socialist who is a President to the poor, they will be the ones who repeat that false rhetoric.

jrpowell's avatar

My guess is now they know it is harder to buy Obama than they originally thought.

That makes me want to vote for Obama.

Cruiser's avatar

HA! @tedd…I did NOT expect this and I hope you can share in the amazement of this. You said Barack was not gonna bail out the banks anymore?? Well read this and follow the money! lol! Apparently Mr Obama somehow repeating the very same mistakes that got us in the banking mess in the first place will not be a problem under his watch. He is proposing a Re-fil plan that is an almost forced re-fi of all “responsible” homeowners in an attempt to lower mortgage fees! The usual suspects of Fanny and Freddy are in the game as well as….now don’t be shocked here but JP Morgan and Wells Fargo who have made Barack’s top contributor list of 2012! One hand washing the other and he hasn’t even been re-elected yet!

“This is ultimately at the end of the day a bailout for JP Morgan and Wells Fargo,” and other big underwriters of second mortgages and home equity lines, Stockman says. “Those [second liens] are in great jeopardy because of homeowners way under water on primary mortgages and are likely to default or throw in the keys at some point down the road.”

I mean I am all for people being able to access better deals at a bank but I would prefer to let the banks decide who they would lend to and not put the Government and ultimately the taxpayers back on the hook for any defaults! This seems crazy to me.

tom_g's avatar

@Cruiser – I’d like to look into this refi plan, which actually sounds pretty good. But I am an adult, so I’m unable to get past the title of that link you sent me (“The Worst Kind of Crony Socialism”). Do you have a link to a legitimate description of that proposed plan?

tedd's avatar

@cruiser its not worth my time to argue with you anymore. Like Adam pointed out, you have preconceived ideas and no matter how many facts or how much common sense we hit you with, you just ignore it and move onto another topic/complaint based on lies and nonsense. Notice you got “fuzzy” about GE after pointed out your lie about their profits.

Here’s what it comes down to. Obama is going to win in November. Mittens isn’t going to sweep the battle ground states, and that’s the only way he comes out ahead. You’re going to have 4 more years of Obama, and he’ll carry you forward kicking and screaming out of your own forced ignorance. Deal with it.

Cruiser's avatar

Removed by me

Cruiser's avatar

@tom_g you could have followed a link in my link to this and if you read the whole thing you see a golden opportunity for a bi-partisan compromise hidden in this agenda and let’s see if Barack can make this happen.

tom_g's avatar

@Cruiser – That link is too broad, doesn’t actually name the plan, and is from February 2012.

I don’t have the time right now to really look into this, but I think I have identified the plan you are talking about.
First, it is apparently a broadening of the Home Affordable Refinance Program, and is referred to as Harp 3.0.

I’ll try digging in later when/if I have the time. But I took a quick glance through this, and I don’t see anything really bad. I don’t see how this is being spun as “The worst kind of crony socialism”, and I’m not sure why this is a bad thing. I mean, aren’t there a ton of houses that are underwater? I’ll check back later. Note: I’ll also be looking for alternatives to these proposals that have been offered by Republicans so we can compare them.

bkcunningham's avatar

@tedd, the title that offends you is a quote from former White House budget director David Stockman.

Cruiser's avatar

@tom_g Your kind words about Harp are the same kind words Obama and Acorn said when championing the same affordable no money down loans back in 2006. How quickly we forget amidst the revelry of an election to distract most from the truths. Anyway I cannot believe what you can find on the internet these days….check this out!

America waits with bated breath while Washington struggles to bring the U.S. economy back from the brink of disaster. But many of those same politicians caused the crisis, and if left to their own devices will do so again

“ACORN showed its colors again in 1991, by taking over the House Banking Committee room for two days to protest efforts to scale back the CRA. Obama represented ACORN in the Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank, 1994 suit against redlining. Most significant of all, ACORN was the driving force behind a 1995 regulatory revision pushed through by the Clinton Administration that greatly expanded the CRA and laid the groundwork for the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac borne financial crisis we now confront. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in this effort. With this new authority, ACORN used its subsidiary, ACORN Housing, to promote subprime loans more aggressively.”

If Harp passes you can bet a Tarp will not be far behind! ;)

tom_g's avatar

@Cruiser – These links you are providing are a waste on me. I went to college, so an article that has “William Ayers” in the second paragraph is going to be closed because it’s telling the reader not to take it seriously.

Also, my wife was an ACORN community organizer for 2 years in the late 90s, so the ACORN = bad thing isn’t really going to fly.
On the other hand, I’m not going to be an Obama apologist, because I’m only a Democrat in practice right now because I have sold out and have decided the lesser of two evils is A) the only thing possible right now, and B) doing something is better than sticking to my values and accomplishing nothing. But my criticisms of Obama come from a perspective that he is too Republican.

So, back to HARP. It has passed, and is available today. What you are talking about is apparently this modification to it (HARP 3.0) that would open up the program to mortgages that are not backed by Fannie and Freddie.

Listen, I’m not going to defend it because I admittedly don’t know shit about it other than blurbs I am reading. If you have some major problem with it, maybe you could outline what those problems are. However, try the following…
– Don’t just link to an article – especially some ideologically-drenched crap that only targets a particular intellect.
– Outline why you feel it is wrong, and why. Be specific.
– Provide a brief description or a summary of proposals that have been offered by Republicans to address this problem.

Note: I may actually agree with you. This HARP thing might be crap.

Cruiser's avatar

@tedd I am not clairvoyant but when it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Practically forcing banks once again to offer low interest re-fi’s to the very demographic that blew the lid off not only the housing market but the lending institutions of America while telling the banks no worries, any of these loans that go bust we will cover you…plus bank bailouts are great for Democratic street cred. I give up this whole thing stinks BIG TIME!

Pazza's avatar

Other thoughts on what is at play:
Firstly my opinion – what is known in the US as lobbying, and donations in the UK I consider to be nothing short of bribery. Wikipedia even says as much – Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many different types of people and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations Why is this legal?????

Conclusion, the lobby’ers expect a return on their cash donation, favorable legislation etc.
So the fact that these candidates accept these cash donations pretty much tells me they’re gonna play ball. And judging by the sums involved, one could imagine what consequences there would be for not playing ball.

So it seem to me, that the only safe vote would be the candidate that was funded purely by voter contributions, these contributions would only come in if the candidate was playing ball at their level.

Cruiser's avatar

@Pazza Which is why I protest that “K” street in Washington should be bulldozed and turned into a waterpark.

Pazza's avatar

@Cruiser
Had no idea K street even existed….
There’s a lobbyist industry??????
I’d be careful of the words you use lol.
That could be construed by the washington gestapo as being anti government hate speach and a thought crime worthy of preemptive NDAA legitimised strike on a US citizen…..

a water park would be nice…....
or even just a nice water feature!.....

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