Summary: With Campaign 2016 America passes into new hands. It’s a capstone to the slow political revolution by the 1% since 1970 (the Boomers’ legacy). Before we vote, let’s remember the steps that brought us here. Such as the growth of corporate lobbying, whose success shows that our government is for sale at discount prices. These articles describe how this happened in plain sight –while we played.
By Jeff Madrick in the New York Review of Books.
In the 7 April 2016 issue. Posted with permission.
“On President Obama’s first day in office in 2009, he issued an executive order to close “the revolving door” between government and the private sector by restricting the hiring of any registered lobbyists for positions in his administration. But Obama himself eventually hired at least seventy lobbyists, many of whom then returned to lobbying after a stint in his administration. So much for Obama’s campaign pledge that he would “tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.” The executive order has since been dropped, and the number of business lobbyists in Washington has continued rising rapidly.
“Taking jabs at the profession remains a popular sport, even among Republicans. Donald Trump claimed at one of the Republican debates this fall that he would not talk to lobbyists once elected. Jeb Bush said that he would not let any more into Washington’s halls of power. The question remains: How much influence on Washington’s agenda do business lobbyists have?
“A book titled The Business of America is Lobbying by a highly regarded Washington watchdog, Lee Drutman, is therefore welcome, especially during a new presidential season. It takes some wading through Drutman’s disorganized prose and his sometimes ambivalent feelings about lobbying to find his main messages. But there are two crucial points that are disturbing. The first is that business spends $34 on lobbying for every dollar spent by likely opponents such as labor unions and other interest groups.