P.T. Barnum is credited with coining the phrase, "THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE".
Phineas Taylor Barnum was an 'original'. A one of a kind huckster. People loved giving him their money and he loved taking it. And Barnum did it legally. He was an entertainer. The creator of THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!
P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) has been gone for over 100 years. But his spirit lives on in the hearts of many and his salesmanship skills and qualities remain unequaled to this day.
To many, P.T. Barnum is a GOD. A GOD worshiped in the same way any other GOD is treated. His disciples have been very successful.
In today's world, there's probably a 'sucker born every second', but Barnum's axiom remains a 'truth' and perhaps a 'mission statement' in certain places in the American culture.
Barnum understood the American psyche and that he could quickly and easily take money from people with his "SNAKE OIL" jargon and do it without legal threat.
Using Barnum techniques, tent evangelists followed his lead in droves and found gold in 'devine healing' and 'saving those wretched souls of sinners' preaching 'the w-o-r-d of the Lord'.
Of course there are hundreds of other rip-off, con-artist types in all walks of life. But Barnum, followed by some religious evangelists, and now some politicians personify this industry, the 'legal ripoff industry', and it's ideas.
|Early Barnum-Playing Straight Man to Partner Tom Thumb|
Union members and those supportive of their causes gave their dollars to fund 'selfish', sometimes needed causes and it worked. Their causes included working conditions, salary and benefit issues.
Today it seems there are PAC's everywhere, many of which are attached to individual politicians. But many are attached to corporations and other organizations as the funding arms for particular causes or themes.
For example, the Billionaire Koch Brothers have their corporate PAC that funds conservative causes and candidates such as Tea Party candidates (i.e. Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle) and de-regulatory propositions such as California's recent Proposition 23.
In 1974, the U.S. Congress established the Federal Election Commission (FEC) (effective 1975) as a quasi regulator and watchdog to Political Action Committees (PAC's).
FEC regulations are relatively loose and limited considering what they do and the enormous amount of money they follow. As of 2009, this agency had about 330 full time employees overseeing 1000's of PAC's.
PAC's can be somewhat confusing because each one is structured differently. Some have big staff payrolls and overhead costs, while others don't.
Although FEC regulations require separation between personal finances and PACs, there are sometimes blurs and blends that may or may not be legal (under FEC
rules) between the two. Overlaps, legitimate and otherwise abound. Some appear to be 'money laundering' operations and some look like direct, clear and clean operations for their causes.
The idea that some of these PACs may be 'new AMERICAN (legal) RIP-OFFS' in the P.T. Barnum tradition is obvious.
We are on the SarahPAC 'listserve' and receive fund raising requests at least monthly. This month, it was a "Lets give Sarah a Surprise Birthday Gift" with our donations.
Apparently it worked well because Sarah hired herself a new Chief of Staff, Michael Glassner.
CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee, also seems to spend it's considerable donations on what contributors expect of them.
So, the bottom line to all this is "Contributor Beware". There are many P.T. Barnum clones among us and the political world certainly has it's share of them.