Monday :: Mar 28, 2005

Big Business Makes Out Like Bandits Under Republican One Party Rule


by Mary

While the Wingnut Christian right feel betrayed by President Bush's weak support, one constituency has been overjoyed by him and his party. Big business has finally found someone who will consistently vote for them over citizens in every case. For decades they've been using their money to try to buy a favorable environment, and now they've been able to get what they've always dreamed of: all branches of government doing their bidding.

Fortune 500 companies that invested millions of dollars in electing Republicans are emerging as the earliest beneficiaries of a government controlled by President Bush and the largest GOP House and Senate majority in a half century.

...Republicans have pursued such issues for much of the past decade, asserting that free market policies are the smartest way to grow the economy. But now it appears they finally have the legislative muscle to push some of their agenda through Congress and onto the desk of a president eager to sign pro-business measures into law. The chief reason is Bush's victory in 2004 and GOP gains in Congress, especially in the Senate, where much of corporate America's agenda has bogged down in recent years, according to Republicans and Democrats.

"These are not real high-profile, sexy issues like the war or Social Security, but these are issues that have huge economic consequences," said Charles R. Black Jr., a GOP lobbyist and one of the president's top fundraisers. "And there is more to come on that score."

Big business gains everytime Republicans put someone on the judicial bench as well. The Environment Law Institute recently did a study of how judicial rulings (pdf) on environmental issues were decided when the judges hearing the case were appointed by Republicans or Democrats and what they found was overwhelming evidence that you can predict how the case will be decided by which party appointed the judge. Living on Earth recently interviewed Cass Sunstein about this report.

CURWOOD: What did the environmental law center find?

SUNSTEIN: They found two major things. The first is that if you're in a trial court, a regular district court, just one judge, the likelihood that you're going to win, if you're complaining that the government hasn't complied with a national environmental policy act, is way higher if you have a Democratic appointee who's deciding the case than if you have a Republican appointee who's deciding the case. The disparity is enormous. Fifty-nine percent of the time the Democratic appointees vote for pro-environment plaintiffs under the national environmental policy act, almost 60 percent of the time. For Republican appointees, it's 28 percent of the time. That's a lot lower, less than half. They also found, that is the Environmental Law Institute, also found, that on the Courts of Appeals, you do terrifically well if you're a pro-environment plaintiff if you have three Democratic appointees. Seventy-five percent of the time you win in an all Democratic panel. If you have a three-Republican panel, a Republican-dominated panel, the pro-environment plaintiffs do terribly. They win just 11 percent of the time.

CURWOOD: What do you make of this?

SUNSTEIN: It's a stunning number. It's a very dramatic finding and the reason is that judges are supposed to follow the law and we don't ordinarily think that everything turns on whether you get a Republican or Democratic appointee in the trial court. But, in this case, the numbers aren't just different; they are startlingly different.

So while the culture wars play out on the tv screens, the real decisions about how our lives will be in the future are being made everyday by the party of big business. Indeed, they now have the best government money can buy.

Mary :: 7:43 AM :: Comments (30) :: Digg It!