Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Corporate Finance Reform

Senators John McCain (R-Arz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) are widely known as party moderates and the primary leaders in the campaign finance reform efforts. Both sent a letter yesterday to members of Congress opposing a new appropriations bill that would result in unlimited Political Action Committee (PAC) funding of individual campaigns, effectively nullifying the campaign finance reform act which helps curbs political corruption.

Unfortunately, there will always be an effort by members of Congress, and special interests alike to poke holes in campaign finance laws. In particular, corporate media interests have a huge interest in keeping law makers in their pocket in order to ensure favorable policy towards the industry. Basically what is known as deregulation would be heavily pushed into law. This really means free market regulation to protect the corporations' bottom line with little government oversight to protect the public interest. The free market does not encourage enough competition within the media industry, instead fostering consolidation and centralized power structures as indicated by the recent mergers into the current big 5 media conglomerates. Allowing virtually all media content in this country to be controlled by so few 'competitors' essentially extinguishes diversity of opinion and consideration for the public interest of a well informed citizenry.

The following link (http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/industry.asp?txt=B02&cycle=2006) is a list of media related PAC contributions to each party.

As you can see in this chart, a strong majority of their money is going towards the Republican Party. This would seem to conflict with the idea of a liberal media bias, but reinforces the concept of a corporate media bias that heavily favors free market regulation. Taking this into consideration, the figures are not surprising since Republicans are generally fiscally conservative and believe in government deregulation.

However, I would argue for government regulation as being essential in the media sector because of its unique contribution to democracy. Protecting the public interest for access to reliable, insensateness, and diverse information is vital to a viable democratic nation. The free market often causes externalities which are costs passed onto society as a whole, but that do not show up on a corporate balance sheet or affect profit. This is why a government policy that addresses these externalities must be present in order to preserve the integrity and quality of information.

Furthermore, there is a disconnect between what the public wants and what the market delivers. The best example of this is advertising. Not many are happy with the current level of commercialism in our culture or with the materialistic values it promotes. Yet, the public is constantly bombarded with an increasing number of ads across all types of media. So the government has stepped in on a rare occasion (i.e. the National Do Not Call List for telemarketers) thanks to public outcry. More of this regulation is needed to address the hidden social costs, such as materialism, in order to protect our core democratic values.


  1. Yes! Big Government! More Regulations! That's exactly what we need to look out for the public interest! So in case of another hurricane, we can look to the newly increased in size, highly regulated government to protect us!

  2. I 100% agree with what u said. I see this sort of thing everyday! Godamned fatcats stealing all me things. I have to write this at a 7/11 cuz the godamned corporates stole my computer and sold it for parts to buy there Acid. And now (get this) I’m living under a godamned bridge cuz them assholes at corporations needed to take down my home so they could build Starbucks (godamned pricks). I know my home wasn’t much, but godamnit it was all I had. PROFIT, PROFIT, PROFIT. That’s all they care about. And them godamned TV shows with the little prick underdogs “reporting”. U know them reporters, they fucking stole some bread from me. That’s fucking right. U know why? Cuz there as fucking poor as everyone else. That’s right, they godamned corporates tried offering me a job as a godamned reporter… that’s right (in compensation for takeing my shack away). That’s all them fucking reporters are, are godamned homeless people getting paid minimum wage in compensation for there home being destroyed and acting like there all rich and normal (dats what the corporates want you to belive). And now the fucking west coast is destroyed, that’s means (allot more Starbucks!, and a lot more reporters). That is - if the west coast even exists…. Which I’m starting to doubt more and more (Think about it, if the west coast doesn’t exist it would be pretty fucking convenient wouldn’t it.


    Bob Sacramento