Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pigs At The Trough

Did you know that the amount of money spent on lobbying in Washington, DC has gone up by seven times since 1980..... seven times ! The amount spent on organized "influencing" of our federal government is at an astounding $3.4 Billion annually as of 2010 ! That's up from $1.44 Billion just since 1990. Nearly triple in 20 years.

So, who are these lobbyists, exactly ?

The largest contributing industry in 2010?    Pharmaceuticals which spent $241,075,934 in 2010 and they have spent a whopping $2,081,240,642 since 1998.  A close second was the electric utilities at $191,304,085 in 2010 and $1,417,711,382 since 1998.  Although the insurance industry has been losing ground the last year or so, they still get an "also ran" award for placing second overall in this category by spending $1,499,821,977 since 1998 to get their "fair share". Another $1.5 Billion to make sure congress does exactly what?

The largest single contributors?    The US Chamber of Commerce for 2010 which was at $132,067,500. They have spent a massive $738,825,680 since 1998.  Second: PG&E Group (Pacific Gas & Electric Co.) at $45,460,000 for 2010.    The all time "winner" for 1998-2010 was the American Medical Association at $243,277,500. The American Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical lobbyists must have a good time discussing strategies at the taverns and bars in Georgetown. The two together have spent nearly $3 Billion since 1990.  And my how our health care system shines.... er, wait a second !  I guess it works well for them.   They're not stupid enough to spend $3 Billion for nothing,......only the government does dumb things like that.

Well, I could go on and on about who is buying our government but I think I'm making myself clear that this is out of control.   This has been one of the hardest blogs for me to write because I tend to acknowledge both sides of arguments, but I see no argument to support such obscene amounts of money being spent by the monied and powerful.  They steer our government to make specific decisions that would obviously be in their favor. 

In "Common Sense", Thomas Paine began by writing:  "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right". Thomas Paine was talking about the King of England,  I think it applies today to the lobbying industry.  We've seen it so long, that it seems like an ordinary way of "doing government business".  An unfortunate necessity.   But,  what's going on is wrong.   Like slithering snakes, these lobbyists have coiled themselves around the very freedoms and liberties our young men and women fight for over seas, choking those freedoms into submission in the name of corporate welfare.  These people have an undue influence on our government  and its operation.  I am afraid that our leaders in Washington, DC consider, first and foremost,  "what would be the best course of action to grease the palms of those that will get me reelected?".  Any benefit to the American people would be a happy circumstance..... a pleasant coincidence.  With lobbyists whispering in their ear, the focus and targets and ambitions of our leaders is rooted in the matter of how they might yield more power to the already powerful.   

In My Humble Opinion,

Chuck Marshall

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