Lobbyists make America as a plutocracy

It probably won’t do much good complaining, but we don’t really have a democracy yet. There are 23 registered lobbyists in Washington for every Congressman: 535 Senators and Congressmen and 12,719 lobbyists.

This number will vary a little every year. But this is the number for “registered” lobbyists. Analyst James A. Thurber, Distinguished Professor of Government at the American University in Washington, D.C., estimates the actual number of lobbyists is close to 100,000 as lobbying activity is “going underground” as they get increasingly sophisticated to obscure their activity. They want to influence our law-making process. They want legislation favorable to their interests.

Wealthy (corporate) interests dominate, they overwhelmingly represent business interests as opposed to union and public interests. Corporate lobbies outnumber union lobbies seven to one.

Since our elective process depends on private funding, our lawmakers have to spend 50 percent of their time raising money to get re-elected. This is where our “democracy” is weakest. Our lawmakers have to have corporate money to get re-elected. So, they have to pay those interests back and influence legislation in their favor. This amounts to a plutocracy, not a democracy. I’m all for business. I’m a big fan of business. But I would like to see a little more balance in our policy making.

I suppose big money will always dominate governments. Trump has rolled back worker safety protections affecting underground mine safety inspections, offshore oil rigs, line speeds in meat processing plants, not to mention 76 environmental regulations, including water pollution standards, etc.

An interesting footnote, Wikipedia says that 78 percent of former House members and 87 percent of former Senators go to work for firms that lobbied them while they were in office.


From AZ Daily Sun January 21, 2019

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Posted in Letters to the Editor and tagged , .