Exposing the ignorance of the ”free market” goons

Some major American corporations and businesses…

So I was reading youtube comments this morning, and I came across a user who made the claim that ‘’free markets’’ are in opposition to corporate interests and lobbyists. I found this claim funny, because it is well documented (and well-known) that corporate institutions have fiercely resisted regulations, taxes and other forms of government intrusion since the Progressive Era and the end of 100% unregulated capitalism. 

For example (more recent), investment banks lobbied like hell to prevent mortgage regulation, CEO compensation caps, stricter capital rules, federal bank fraud oversight and restrictions/guidelines regarding the usage of TARP funds.  (by that last one, I mean the government told the banks to use the funds to restructure debt, and the banks didn’t like someone telling them how to use their bailout money) That’s just one example.

Here is the comment that I received.

But let’s go a little deeper. Let’s look at who actually promotes free market policy in the United States, and let’s look at where they get their funding and their ‘’ideas’’ from, shall we? This is gonna be fun! 

The most prominent ‘’free market,’’ laissez-faire or neoliberal advocacy group in the nation is probably the Cato Institute, formerly known as the Charles G. Koch Foundation, so let’s look at them. 

According to a report by SourceWatch, the libertarian think tank is funded by some of the biggest corporations and special interests in the world. The major corporate donors, include:

BB&T
CME Group
Consumer Electronics Association
Facebook Inc.
Google Inc.
Mcgraw-Hill Financial
Metlife Inc.
Property Casualty Insurers Association
Reynolds American Inc.
Seaworld Parks & Entertainment Inc.
C. V. Starr & Company Inc.
Overstock.com
Whole Foods Market

Foundation donors:

Aequus Institute
$9,500

2005-2011
Armstrong Foundation
$99,500

1998-2012
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation
$77,000

2007-2009
Aster, Richard F. Jr. Foundation
$285,000

2006-2011
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
$10,000

2010
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation
$427,618

1998-2005
Barney Family Foundation] $400,000

2003-2012
Bradley, Lynde and Harry Foundation
$1,872,500

1986-2012
Cain, Gordon and Mary Foundation
$400,000

1998-2000
Carthage Foundation
$185,000

1989, 2004-2005, 2012
Castle Rock Foundation
$450,000
(formerly the Coors Foundation)
2001-2008
Center for Independent Thought
$217,000

2008-2012
Challenge Foundation
$425,000

2007-2012
Chase Foundation of Virginia
$286,840

2001-2012
Chiaroscuro Foundation
$35,000

2010
CIGNA Foundation
$10,000

2006
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation
$10,217,350
Koch Industries family foundation
1986-2010
Claws Foundation
$1,700,000

2009-2012
Curry, Ravenel and Elizabeth Foundation
$267,500

2001-2012
Davis, Shelby Cullom Foundation
$5,000

1999
DeVos, Dick and Betsy Family Foundation
$10,000
Amway
2008-2009
Donner, William H. Foundation
$280,000

2001-2012
Donors Capital Fund
$1,173,534
Koch-tied anonymous donor-directed fund
2003-2012
DonorsTrust
$413,506
Koch-tied anonymous donor-directed fund
2004-2012
Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking
$5,055,000

2002-2013
Earhart Foundation
$667,125

1996-2012
ExxonMobil
$110,000

2001-2006
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice
$29,500

2004-2005
Friedmann, Philip M. Family Charitable Trust
$180,000
Recycled Paper Greetings company
2002-2006[93][94][95][96][97] George Edward Durell Foundation
$290,000

2009-2012
Gilder Foundation
$375,000

1999-2006
Goodrich, Pierre F. and Enid Foundation
$335,000

2001-2013
Hansen, Robert and Marie Foundation
$225,000

2003-2007
Herrick Foundation
$489,050

2005-2011
Holman Foundation
$430,708

2001-2012
Jaquelin Hume Foundation
$150,000

1999-2000
JM Foundation
$150,000

1995-2011
John Dawson Foundation
$200,000

2002-2008
John M. Olin Foundation
$832,500

1985-2000 (foundation closed in 2005)
John Templeton Foundation
$150,920

2006-2007
John William Pope Foundation
$55,000

2010-2013
Kirby, F.M. Foundation
$330,000

1998-2012
Koch, Charles G. Charitable Foundation
$34,400
Koch Industries family foundation
2008-2012
Koch, David H. Charitable Foundation
$4,043,240
Koch Industries family foundation
1986-2001
Krieble, Vernon K. Foundation
$79,000

2001-2011
Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation
$40,000

2002-2011
Lowndes Foundation
$339,950

2004-2012
McWethy Foundation
$40,000

2006-2012
Neal and Jane Freeman Foundation
$40,000

2004-2010
Opportunity Foundation
$427,690

2001-2012
Randolph Foundation
$33,200

2003-2012
Reams Foundation
$290,000

2006-2012
Robertson-Finley Foundation
$25,500

2004-2012
Rodney Fund
$997,877

1998-2012
Roe Foundation
$92,500

1998-2011
Rotella, Robert P. Foundation
$200,000

2003-2012
Rumsfeld, Joyce and Donald Foundation
$1,000

2012
Sarah Scaife Foundation
$2,207,500

1986-2012
Searle Freedom Trust
$1,300,000

2001-2012
Smith Richardson Foundation
$50,000

2005
Stiles-Nicholson Foundation
$11,000

2010-2012
Weiler Foundation
$25,000

2012-2013
Whitcomb Charitable Foundation
$15,000

2010-2012
Walton Family Foundation
$39,000
Walmart fortune
1998-2011

Just as a comment, what stands out here are ‘’Bank of America Foundation,’’ ‘’Exxon Mobil,’’ ‘’Devos, Dick and Besty Family Foundation,’’ ‘’CIGNA Foundation,’’ and ‘’Walton (yes, Walton) Family Foundation.’’ 

This should immediately call into question the financial, environmental, educational, health, and corporate policies of the Cato Institute. Libertarians (and conservatives) have long proposed ‘’getting government out of healthcare’’ as a ‘’solution’’ to rising healthcare costs. Well, turns out Cigna and Met Life, some of the biggest health and insurance companies in the United States are backing this think-tank and, by proxy, these ‘’solutions.’’

 While that happens, Cato supports ending banking regulations (including the Federal Reserve, FDIC etc.) while it is donated to by Bank of America, BB&T and McGraw-Hill Financial. 

 It’s almost as if these ‘’free marketers’’ support privatization, deregulation and lower taxes because big business (who is interested in all those things) donate to them. Just a thought! 🙂

And this isn’t even the end of it, it gets worse. SourceWatch continues:

Cato has also been funded by the tobacco industry (see Tobacco Funding to Cato Institute for more) and other corporations (see Cato Institute financial data for more), including:[98][99]

 That’s what you need to know. The Cato Institute’s laissez-faire (neoliberal) agenda is well-funded by some of the world’s largest corporate giants. Microsoft, Exxon, Comcast etc.

  Libertarians seem to have this delusional belief that because they want to eliminate ‘’corporate welfare,’’ that they are not pro-corporate. Anytime you pressure them, they’ll respond to you this way. They seem to forget that historically, the polices they advocate are much more beloved by big business. Ever since the Powell Memo, we know corporations have been dead-set on promoting ‘’free markets’’ to the public. This is because letting business do whatever they want is the most potent form of corporate welfare.

Removing dozens of regulations, all of which eat into those sweet profits $$$, is the best way for corporations to feed investors and executives. A subsidy from the government may be ‘large,’ but there is more money to be made in the long term by reducing things like compliance costs and expanding prohibited activities than anything else. Remember that.

Then there is the ‘other’ free-market think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.

I cannot find the ‘laundry list’ of current donors, but, we DO know who founded it. Thus, it is easier to determine who the institution serves if we know this information.

The think-tank was founded by executives of large corporations, during the New Deal-era.

‘’AEI grew out of the American Enterprise Association (AEA), which was founded in 1938 by a group of New York businessmen led by Lewis H. Brown. AEA’s original mission was to promote a “greater public knowledge and understanding of the social and economic advantages accruing to the American people through the maintenance of the system of free, competitive enterprise”.[18] AEI’s founders included executives from Eli Lilly, General Mills, Bristol-Myers, Chemical Bank, Chrysler, and Paine Webber. To this day, AEA’s board is composed of top leaders from major business and financial firms.[19]   

Two pharma companies, a food company, a bank, a car manufacturer and a stock brokerage firm. I think that’s self-explanatory! 

🙂

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