John: I completely agree. In fact I’ve had a similar argument with Beinart more than once. He seems thoroughly convinced that corporations are “right-wing” and I’m thoroughly convinced that’s poppycock.
But on your specific point, I’d go even further. Not only do Big Businesses create wealth — something I doubt Beinart would dispute — but, thanks largely to the policies of lots of Democrats Beinart supports, corporations provide health care for millions and millions of Americans. And many consumer groups, I’ve always thought, are little more than propaganda arms of trial lawyers and the like. Without a doubt, a president that pleases, say, GM is doing far more to help average Americans than a president who pleases, say, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
And when you think about it, except in the area of fighting pollution (an increasingly minor problem) conservation groups don’t really try to help average Americans except in indirect or vaguely transcendental ways (saving green spaces for future generations and the like). The Teamsters, after all, support drilling in ANWR.