What will the rich do to protect their interests after the Recovery Act

2022-04-29 0 By

Obama signs the Recovery Act.It squeaked through Congress, with just three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House.Five years later, the Global Markets Initiative, a project run by the University of Chicago, surveyed leading economists on the diversity and excellence of ideas in the economic field and found near-unanimous consensus that the Recovery Act had achieved its goal of reducing unemployment.All but one of 37 economists surveyed disagreed.The Free-market orthodoxy of the Republican party that controls Washington has strayed so far from reason and expertise that the extremists have prevailed.In fact, Mr. Obama’s opponents have forced the government into a smaller stimulus package than many economists believe is necessary, weakening the recovery.In his first month in office, Mr. Obama has been hurt by the ferocity of his opponents, backed by outside money.The day after signing the stimulus bill, Mr Obama announced a $75bn rescue package for homeowners.Santari delivered his rant the next morning and it went viral.Matt Drudge, a conservative news aggregator, links to his site’s whirling red alert flag to promote it as a jarring political emergency to its 3m daily readers.Within hours, another web site, TaxDayTeaParty.com, appeared on the Internet to spread the rebellion under the TeaParty label.The domain name was registered by Eric Odom, a young member of the Libertarian Party from Illinois who lives in Chicago.Until recently, Odom worked for a group called the Sam Adams Alliance, whose CHIEF executive has long and close ties to the Koch brothers.The strange story of Sam Adams’s Union demonstrates another way in which years of private funding by a handful of rich ideological advocates has created an underground political infrastructure.The Chicago-based tax-exempt organization is named after Boston Tea Party activist Sam Adams in 1773.Although the organization’s name calls to mind the founding fathers, its CHIEF executive is a Wisconsin investor named Eric O ‘Keefe.He has been close to the Koch brothers since working as a young volunteer on David Koch’s libertarian vice presidential campaign.Eventually, O ‘Keefe became the national leader of the Libertarian Party.By 1983, like the Kochs, he had begun to promote free-market fundamentalism by other means, often allying with the Kochs through their donor seminars and other ventures.Raised on the Wall Street Journal and conservative book clubs, O ‘Keefe “has money.He grew up with a little money, and he made even more as an investor, allowing him to devote decades to a series of ambitious political reform movements, almost all of which failed.So wrote the Washington Post.According to one story, the founder of the Sam Adams League was a bald, shy, Brooklyn-born real estate magnate named Howard Ritchie, known to friends and enemies as Hoy.Rich is also involved in a number of wide-ranging political ventures, and is aligned with the Koch brothers.Inspired by the early writings of Hayek and Milton Friedman, he became a tireless supporter of the dubious cause of liberalism as he amassed his fortune buying apartment buildings in Manhattan, Texas and North Carolina.Both O ‘Keefe and Rich have served on the cato Institute’s board, along with David Koch.They’ve had their ups and downs for years, and so has Charles Koch.The relationship was good enough that the George Mason University Institute for Humane Studies (chaired by Charles Koch) selected 30 or so researchers to participate in summer internships at the Sam Adams Union.For decades, this wealthy and tight-knit circle has tried to advance the libertarian ideas it passionately promotes, almost always working in secret under the shell of various organizations to keep their role from being discovered.Ritchie, in particular, matched Houdini’s trick, obscuring his role with a dizzying array of renaming, morphing and interlocking.He almost always refuses to talk to the media or debate his opponents.But until the Tea Party came along, the results disappointed him.”My thirty-two years of investment have been a long and costly lesson in frustration.”Admitted o ‘Keefe, his close political partner.The group’s early political efforts included a secret attempt in the early 1990s to get voters to approve ballot measures to limit congressional terms.Experts say term limits would hurt Democrats, who at the time had more members of Congress, and would strengthen wealthy outsiders, people like them.That was the case with the tea Party movement, which proponents of term limits portrayed as a grassroots explosion of ordinary people angered by entrenched power.In California, the Koch brothers were rumored to be behind the 1992 referendum on whether to impose restrictions, but spokesmen denied they had any direct role.But after the referendum was won, the Los Angeles Times found that the real organizers, and much of the money, were traced to a secret group run by Howie Rich and Eric O ‘Keefe, known as Term Limits USA.The Koch brothers are also involved.Confronted with the documents, Mr Fink admitted that they had in effect provided “seed money”.Similarly, in Washington state, a ballot initiative for congressional term limits came close to passing in 1991, until the New York Times exposed what Murray Rothbard, an irksome libertarian theorist who broke with the Koch brothers, called “Koch’s big pocket of money behind the ‘grassroots’ movement.”The Times found that what supporters billed as a “populist fire” was in fact the product of a Washington-based group calling itself Citizens for Congressional Reform.The group was started with hundreds of thousands of dollars from David Koch.”I ignited a spark and the fire ignited itself,” he said after being exposed.But it was his chequebook that fanned the flames.His group contributed almost three-quarters of the campaign budget, paying professional signature-gatherers to gather enough names to put the issue on the ballot.Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that federal term limits were unconstitutional.The ruling ends the congressional campaign for good;Yet supporters’ penchant for artificial populism does not end there.Libertarian sponsors have tried, however, to buy off the aura of public support.In 2004, the Koch brothers’ new advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, took one of its first ventures with a radical anti-tax measure called the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights.”The measure would strictly limit state legislators and require all tax increases to be approved by referendum first.The group chose Kansas as its first battleground for the taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, when the Koch brothers were fighting a proposed tax increase in their home state.Despite howls of protest about unaccounted spending, Americans for Prosperity spent a record amount of money on television advertising and failed to raise taxes.Two years later, in 2006, americans for Limited Government, a group he founded and managed, spent about $8 million promoting various other ballot initiatives, including demanding compensation for property owners affected by land use laws.Supporters again claim to have broad grassroots support.But an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity revealed that none of the three donors, who account for 99 percent of the organization’s funds, had in fact disclosed their identities.Despite the expense, these anti-government brinksmanship was rejected almost everywhere.Soon after, the state of Illinois suspended Rich’s charitable license because it could not produce the required financial statements, and in 2006, the group closed its Chicago headquarters.At this point, Americans for Limited Government moved to Fairfax, Virginia, where there were several other nonprofit groups that Rich ran.In Chicago, meanwhile, a new tax-exempt organization sprang up in its place, calling itself the Sam Adams League.Eric O ‘Keefe, a former director of Americans for Limited Government, is chairman and CHIEF executive of the new group.”We will not be shut down.”He took an oath when he was investigated for campaign finance violations in Wisconsin.Tax records show that about 88 percent of the Sam Adams Alliance’s funding that year came from an unnamed mystery donor who gave a single $3.7 million gift.