Google is now funding numerous Tea Party groups
Google is funding a number of groups advancing the Koch brothers’ agenda, the company recently disclosed,in a flagrant disregard of its “don’t be evil” ethos. Although US corporations aren’t required to release details about where they send their money, since 2010 Google has released this info publicly, though it’s not comprehensive.
Over the past year they’ve given “substantial” funding to groups such as the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (which puts on the yearly horror-show that is the CPAC conference), Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation (which was responsible for leading the government shutdown). They’ve also donated to the corporate lobby group American Legislative Exchange Council, though this wasn’t included in their public list for some reason.
How much they’ve given has not been disclosed. We can only speculate that with their $330 billion stock value, it’s a significant amount, and probably more money than you’ll ever see in your lifetime.
It’s not hard to guess why they might be donating to such groups. In 2012 they hired former Republican member of the House of Representatives Susan Molinari as Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations. They’re looking to expand their influence on our government, to serve their own greedy interests.
Google hasn’t responded to questions about their funding, though they would likely cite the standard cynical tech company argument that they fund any group, liberal or conservative, that might further one of their own pet agendas, much like Facebook does with immigration reform.
It’s alarming in a broader sense, though. As they and other tech companies move their tremendous wealth into the lobbying game, they could become a more powerful political force than any other industry, possibly rivaling Big Oil.
It’s worth considering their larger, long-term motivations, which are very creepy and libertarian. They want fewer taxes, most obviously (as many weaselly tech companies prefer, in their various attempts to dodge them), and fewer government regulations — you know, things that protect us serfs who weren’t privileged enough to be born into their alleged tech “meritocracy.”
Larry Page publicly stated at Google’s I/O conference this year that he wants to start his own country:
“Maybe we can set aside part of the world. I like going to Burning Man. As a technologist maybe we need some safe places where we can try things and not have to deploy to the entire world.”
Unfortunately for Page and other John Galt-style luminaries like Peter Thiel (who is earnestly attempting to fund his own society on a man-made island in international waters), democracy is messy and clumsy, and people are irrational. Tech companies like Google would be able to “fix” and “change” the world with their expensive consumer tech goods if only they were allowed the complete power to do so.
If I can speculate further — it appears the tech industry’s goal is to minimize the value of humans and their labor as much as possible (driving down the price of all goods and the wages of people who make them, getting rid of the few remaining factory jobs via advanced robots, etc) to both a) benefit their bottom line (fewer workers means more profit, fewer laws means its easier to steal the content that greases their ad machines) and b) assist their quasi-religious effort to more quickly bring about technological singularity. This effort also coincidentally puts them, the programmers, in positions of increased power.
What a fun and sexy time to be in the tech industry.
h/t Bill Moyers