Corporations, unions, and political donations

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein makes a good point – you can’t criticize the political donations of unions on the grounds they are contributing to those they negotiate with without levelling the same charge at corporations. And he provides some useful numbers. American numbers, but even with the Federal Accountability Act, even with a higher union density rate in Canada, Canadian corporations still outspend Canadian unions in the political sphere by the same almost exponential degree:

But the same goes for corporations. The income of many corporations — Boeing is a good example — depend on government contracts. Tax policy is also important when it comes to setting take-home pay. Then there are rules, regulations, bailouts, backstops, and all the other ways that the government helps structure and shape the economy. And “through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout,” corporations “have enormous influence over who gets to bargain with them.” And in the aggregate, of course, the business community spends much more than the unions — in 2010, business groups spent $1.3 billion, while unions spent $93 million.

It’s simply no contest.