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Plain speaking about ALEC from Paul Krugman

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This is a "state of the Krugman" post.

We've noticed recently that the Professor has been calling out his fellow economists for "playing for Team Republican" — a bold rejection of the collegial conventions that bind this profession (to each other, and also to hold their tongues).

Now he takes on ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council — command-and-control for the Movement Conservative war in the states.

And yes, he says "movement-conservative" in the same sense you and I mean it. This is an excellent read (my emphasis and some reparagraphing):

Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. ... But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence[.] ...

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on.

Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.
No words were minced. He makes the case that:
ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism. ... ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game ... they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.
The "long game" — ALEC isn't just about the wins, they're about the wins that create more wins.

Meanwhile, progressive are struggling with the "short game" — that first first-down at the 20 yard line. Take notes, kids; command-and-control beats haphazard and statement-making every time.

The state of the Krugman is "frosty and clear." Thank you, sir, for using your precious Times inches to shine light on this secret monster.

By the way, if you're curious about ALEC's corporate funding, has the goods. For example:
Twenty-three corporations -- including AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Koch Industries -- compose the consortium's "private enterprise board."
Click through; their report is fascinating.


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

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