Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hard Times For Fat Cats

Is a recession in the political economy right around the corner? Bill Kraus thinks so.

He might end up being right. Bill's a seasoned political veteran who knows the lay of the land in campaigns as well as anyone. If he looks into his crystal ball and sees belt-tightening for the political class, then it at least has to be considered a plausible scenario.

But I wouldn't bet on it.

I say that for two reasons. First, the overall economy was already in recession in 2008 but political giving and campaign spending were up. Way up. Second, if you count up all the donors to state campaigns in the Democracy Campaign's online database, they amount to only about 1% of Wisconsin's population. If the masses were making campaign contributions, then you'd expect political giving to drop off during an economic downturn. But only 1% does all the donating, and it tends to be the upper crust, the least likely to have been seriously impacted by the recession.

For these reasons, it's my guess that the political economy will remain recession-proof.

1 comment:

clyde winter said...

People, organizations, and corporations "contribute" to political campaigns based on what they think is directly at stake for them, and their perception of expected return on investment. That's why the super-wealthy and corporations provide so much money to politicians - overwhelmingly incumbent legislators.

Since huge profits can be realized by opportunists during hard times (such as war and depression), and those quick, huge profits are more likely to depend on being well-placed, at the right time, and favored by the right people, I would expect to see legalized bribery increase during such times, in any country where such corruption isn't effectively proscribed.