The following is a KSCO commentary. Here is Kay Zwerling:
I wrote this in January 2006. It is in my book. I want to talk about the lobbying business because it is alive and flourishing. This industry has doubled in the past five years, mainly because large corporations have discovered that since hiring lobbyists at starting salaries of $300,000 per year, those corporations have seen their business increase significantly, in some cases as much as fourfold.
Now, five years later well-connected lobbyists are commanding and getting $750,000 per year, and one is getting $1,000,000 per year. A lobbyist in Washington may have once been in, and understands the workings of passing laws, and can and does persuade lawmakers to legislate laws that directly benefit the corporation which hires the lobbyist. It has become commonplace for members of corporations to actually sit in on lawmakers’ meetings and help with the creation and wording of the law, which the corporation wants passed. Outrageous? You bet. But, this practice has been around for so long and it has probably never been challenged.
A recent case in point – the just passed and implemented Medicare Part D law to help seniors pay less for their medications actually was written by the pharmaceutical industry. This is a perfect case of a fox minding the chicken coop.
Another tidbit of political incest – a number of lawmakers’ wives are lobbyists, also. Imagine their pillow talk.
It is unknown when this lucrative business of political persuasion or culture of corruption began. Our Founding Fathers would surely have nixed the notion of private business paying obscene sums of money to certain powerful persons to get laws passed in their favor.
Anyhow, it smells. In fact, it stinks. The laws of the nation should not be made and bought by big corporations.
It is inherently dishonest and wrong, and the little guy never gets a chance at a level playing field. But, nothing will change. The lobbying business is too entrenched, and it is a big industry in Washington DC, and I believe it is here to stay. There are 30,000 registered lobbyists operating in our capital today.
Is it too much to expect our elected officials to work diligently and honestly to thoroughly study the issues then pass laws which benefit all of us, the poor and the not poor, and do so without outside influence and bribery? The answer is yes, it is too much to expect.
In a perfect world, that could happen. But, this is not a perfect world. Because of the dark side of human nature, power will always corrupt.
For KSCO, this is Kay Zwerling.
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