While I have always been intrigued by politics, I find the practice of having companies being able to donate to campaigns and other events hosted for politicians atrocious.
This practice has been around for ages, and it is not soon going away. I just think that since it the people who elect lawmakers, the people should be the people that benefit from his/her work. However, that is rarely the case and the reason that I find myself not wanting to work in the political world.
I found an article (via Twitter) to a list of corporations (and a few people) who donated to the inauguration to Texas Governor Rick Perry. I am hardly a fan of Rick Perry, but this by no means is meant as an argument against him–it’s an argument against special interests all together.
If you look at the list, you will notice there are multiple energy companies, and in fact, a large portion are companies that have money vested in Texas energy. These companies include: Exxon, American Electric Power, Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, Devon Energy, Energy Future Holdings, Marathon Oil, Conoco Phillips, Spark Energy, and many more.
We’re using the energy industry as our example. Each of these companies, as has long been the practice of every company donating to a politician, expects something in return; no company in their right mind would just give money. They either want a return from the investment directly, or they want good PR aimed their way so the public will think they are a generous corporation.
I’m going to (hopefully, safely) assume that the companies that donated to Perry’s inauguration have the first objective I listed.
Texas is a land of vast energy resources–old-school (oil, natural gas) and new-school (if that’s a word; wind, solar, etc.). Each of these companies want to have their way when it comes to regulations placed on them. Each of these companies wants the Governor to allow them rights to produce energy in Texas. And quite honestly, as most politicians do, he will allow it.
Texas currently faces a debt crisis–somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-something billion. While the Governor, during the campaign, for all intents and purposes, denied this–he is now starting to admit the state is in trouble–big trouble. Proposing cuts to the tune of $1.7 billion from higher education is absolutely insane. If Texas is going to be a premier state in the country, we need to be expanding higher education, not reducing it by 7.6%. Now, I do realize that in a budgetary gap, you have to make sacrifices. But why couldn’t we first take away tax incentives offered to energy companies along with other companies who have become “friends” of virtually every elected official? Eventually, the cost of products would rise, but tax revenue would increase, and possibly the incentives could be offered again once the budget is balanced. Disclaimer: the preceding sentence are a theory. I have no proof to back that up.
Anyway, no matter what the industry or company, and no matter at what level of government donations are given to, special interests will always be around in some sort–we should just resign ourselves to that fact, and therefore citizens lose part of their constitutional voice in government.