The US Constitution grants us the right to petition our government. In theory, that’s great. If they’re doing something we don’t like and are failing to represent the will of the people, we can step in and there is recourse for us to demand a change.
However, this somehow also gave birth to lobbyists. And, folks, lobbyists ruin everything. If you’ve been asleep for years and have no idea what lobbyists are, I’ll tell you: hired guns. That’s all. They take money from special interest groups. Then they go to various politicians and wave that money around, telling these elected officials that rather than represent the will of the people, they should represent the will of this particular special interest group. And, if they do, there’s money in it for them.
Now, I’m not suggesting that every lobbyist outright bribes politicians with money. But make no mistake about it—they do bribe politicians. They don’t give them the money outright. Instead, they donate to campaigns. They offer up guaranteed votes from their special interest group or union when it comes time for another election. That’s mighty appealing.
Oh, and when these dutiful representatives decide to retire from politics? Guess who has a job with a big fat salary waiting for them? Retired politicians are especially valuable because of the connections they have made in government during their years of “service.” It used to be frowned upon but now it’s become the norm. As if these people don’t make enough money as it is!
So how does this democratically parasitic relationship work? Well, once the lobbyist has bought off their politician, they expect something in return. Sometimes it is a bill that helps further their cause. Sometimes it’s a guarantee that regulations will be changed to benefit them – regardless of whether it helps the people as a whole or not. Then there’s earmarking. This is worse than simple pork in a bill. Earmarking has essentially no oversight and can be tacked on whenever, buried in bills so that nobody else notices. Although it siphons off your hard earned tax dollars for something, it certainly isn’t there to benefit you! Instead, it channels money directly to corporate cronies and special interest groups.
In other words, it takes the people out of the process and replaces them with money.
How is that fair? I have no idea. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed with me way back in the 1950s when they had a chance to stop this whole mess in its tracks, or at least regulate it in a way that it did good things for the people.
I think that bringing a valuable cause to the attention of elected officials is a good policy. I don’t think money or votes should change hands in the process. And I sure as heck don’t think politicians should be able to wield their influence long after they’ve retired by becoming lobbyists themselves.
That’s why I think we should have a march on lobbyists. They ruin everything.