GOOD.is and the Red Cross recently partnered on this initiative to get money out of politics and into disaster relief. Fresh on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, there could be no better time to remind people that solutions to so many crucial problems are jammed up because of our government's corruption.
Unfortunately, if we're pinning our hopes for relief on "corporations and special interests" having a change of heart about their current investments, we might be waiting for a long time. A really long time.
A report from the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, and the Giving USA Foundation sheds light on the motivations behind corporate giving. In my view, they inadvertently offer an explanation as to why corporations might choose to invest in politicians over disaster relief:
- Corporations don't give. They invest. You can't invest in a disaster. And if you do, then you might be Lex Luthor. In contrast, the return on investment for politicians is in the billions.
- Corporations may require leveraging matching funds and the commitment of others. Translation: the Red Cross needs bundlers.
- Corporations are in business to make money, not give it away. Their decision to act philanthropically is usually related to some business interest. In other words, if they can't send a lobbyist, then it's probably not worth their time.
"Everyday Americans" probably don't need a reminder to invest in themselves, and not "rich corporate special interests," yet I'm not convinced that this post is really just for those who are donating millions of dollars to super PACs. Maybe the pitch is a tiny bit wonky. And maybe I'm taking some liberties with it. Fair.
But I'm only doing so because it contains the kernel of a really important truth: the government won't invest in what the people need — like disaster relief — until corporations and special interests loosen their stranglehold. And for that to happen, we need to invest in the fight against corruption.