A bit of time spent watching local television in the wilds of northern Nevada yields a real bundle of political advertising – much of which comes from the campaign to elect Representative Joe Heck to the U.S. Senate, but the fine print is almost more interesting than the ads themselves.
For example, during one broadcast of one network show, we’re treated to advertising from (1) the National Republican Senate Committee, two ads, (2) the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, (3) the National Rifle Association, (4) two ads from the American Chemistry Council, (5) two ads from the State Leadership Fund, (6) the National Association of Realtors, and 7) one ad from Heck’s campaign.
There’s nothing unusual about the NRSC running ads in a battle ground state, especially this season. The others raise some questions. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce isn’t a bit shy of publicizing its policy priorities.
There’s some interesting rhetoric therein, but the translations are fairly simple. The Chamber wants:
“Regulatory Overreach—Guard against senseless regulations that wrongly attempt to eliminate all risk taking and innovation from the capital formation process. Work with regulators and Congress as they implement the Dodd-Frank Act and other regulations to ensure a more prudent approach to oversight and enforcement.”
Notice that the “risk” part of the equation isn’t clear – whose risk? In the case of the Dodd Frank Act the idea was to reduce the risk to the American tax payer who was previously on the hook for Wall Street transgressions. And that “innovation in capital formation” were those very creative, if highly dubious, financial ‘products’ Wall Street created in the run up to the last big collapse. If we want a more ‘prudent approach’ to oversight then we need to keep to the spirit of the Dodd Frank Act and oppose any efforts on behalf of Wall Street casino operators who wish a return to the bad old days of rampant financialism. Let’s look at something else the Chamber would like Representative Heck to support:
“Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance—Ensure careful and sensible rulemaking and implementation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) where needed and preserve the state-based system allowing decisions to be made through directors and shareholders. Reasonable policies must permit pay for performance and promote long-term shareholder value and profitability but not constrain reasonable risk taking and innovation.”
Shorter version: Let the states with the least corporate regulation set the standards for determining the process for corporate management pay. Notice the part about promoting “long term shareholder value?” It’s not too hard to decipher this one. Let the states with the lowest standards of regulation be the models, and executive compensation should be based on “shareholder value,” – the model which gets us pharmaceutical executives explaining blooming increases in drug prices – and “profitability,” not necessarily corporate investment in research and development. Even shorter version: Let the corporations do what they want about executive compensation. Let’s look at another source of support for Representative Heck.
The American Chemistry Council. The ALEC associated trade organization is worried that Americans will take environmental warnings entirely too seriously. Like having the Toxic Release Inventory not compiled or reported to the public as often – after all what we don’t know won’t hurt us?
“While promoting the chemical industry as vital to the economic health of the nation the ACC simultaneously lobbied against the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a public right-to-know program. Under TRI, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency annually reports on what industries release into the air, water and land. The ACC “has urged less frequent reporting since 1999.” ACC’s Michael Walls said, “Just because we’re used to doing something doesn’t mean we should accept the inherent high costs or burden of doing it.” The Bush administration supports changing the TRI so that fewer releases are reported, less frequently. EPA officials say they will “likely spend another year weighing the pros and cons” of the proposed changes, after the public comment period ends on December 5. According to federal records, the EPA “previously solicited comments from industry groups.” [SWatch]
In essence, the ACC is telling Nevada voters — “Vote for Joe Heck, and you won’t have to worry about toxic releases into our air and water – because you won’t know about them, and as a bonus, you can keep on using those plastic shopping bags to your heart’s content.” And now we have the …
National Association of Realtors, who would like to remove:
“Overly stringent lending standards have continued to limit the availability of affordable mortgage financing for credit worthy consumers. Federal policymakers are weighing a number of proposals aimed at creating healthier housing and mortgage markets.”
Remember that time when lending companies were writing mortgages hand over fist over elbow, often to very tenuously credit worthy customers? The NAR would like very much to return to that scenario. The result was the Housing Bubble, and we don’t need a repetition of that debacle in Nevada. We’re barely past the last version of exploding ARMs.
And then there’s the ubiquitous NRA, what more can we say but that any regulation of firearms is anathema to these radicals – even question One in Nevada which merely calls for the implementation of background checks to every gun sale. No, it doesn’t apply if your girl friend want to borrow a gun. No, it doesn’t apply to trading guns with your hunting partner! No, it doesn’t mean you can’t share your arsenal with family members! And, no it doesn’t mean the downfall of the democracy… that’s NRA hyperbole and most Nevadans know it. The NRA hysteria is costing Americans 30,000+ lives every year, countless injuries, untold tragedy, and more suicides than we’d care to consider. Who’s NOT in favor of limiting access to firearms to felons, fugitives, the adjudicated mentally ill, domestic abusers, and unsupervised juveniles??
So, the next time there’s a wave of Pro-Heck advertising on the TV screen, read the small print at the end …. Who is supporting Representative Heck and what do they want?