Saturday, August 26, 2006

Of Lobbyists, By Lobbyists and For Lobbyists

Have we become a government of lobbyists, by lobbyists and for lobbyists? Do you have any real influence on your elected Congressional representative, Congressman, Congresswoman or Senator? Will your email be answered by a form email in an "auto reply" as your only response from your elected representative?

How did it occur that it became legal for prescription drugs to be advertised on television? Congress permitted the pharmaceutical industry to air their drugs on television. Why is the average consumer without any medical training exposed to advertising for prescription drugs that only a licensed physician can legally prescribe? How is it sound medicine that patients without medical training advise their doctor what medicines to prescribe based on a television commercial? It's all right because our Congress made it all right to do so. This is an example of the Power of Lobbying by professional lobbyists.

Examples proliferate from industry to industry as well as from organizations, which help influence foreign policy in such areas of the world as the Middle East. How do these lobbyists truly benefit the American people? The answer is simple: they do not benefit the American people. The benefits accrue to the industries and private organizations that have specific agendas, which often do not coincide with corresponding benefit to the American people. Every industry it seems has a lobbyist. Who, then, represents the American people to the elected federal representative? It is the elected representatives themselves who represents the American people, you say. Are our elected representatives schedules filled with meetings with lobbyists or meetings with average constituents? Who has more money to give? Lobbyists and the industries and organizations they represent or Average Citizens with or without a college education?

We have now become a country with a government of lobbyists, by lobbyists and for lobbyists. A private individual, such as Ralph Nader, with his exposé and attention on auto safety helped bring to the American people seat belts and air bags, which have saved countless lives and limbs. Do these lobbyists have the same commitment to the American people that Ralph Nader has demonstrated? Hardly. Their interests are often financial or strategic using American military and diplomatic leverage to help secure their international goals, goals that may not be in the interest of the American people, such as the United States being a "peace broker" in the Middle East for decades without achieving peace! Usually, if a negotiator fails to satisfy both parties in a disagreement another negotiator, a new negotiator is enlisted. However, not in the Middle East, only the United States is the primary mediator because no other country wishes to invest billions of dollars annually in failed peace negotiations for the parties concerned. American money in the billions of dollars annually is the currency of apparent endless diplomacy in the Middle East.

Whether it is foreign or domestic issues, policies and legislation, lobbyists dominate the American legislative scene. There is legislation that benefits lobbyists every year in every session of Congress. Is there a cost-benefit analysis for all legislation affecting the American people? There is no such calculation. So much work for Congress, for there are tens of thousands of lobbyists each representing an industry or organization that wants and needs beneficial legislation! It is a priority! Congress is overworked with all these lobbyists!

The nation's business is suffering, such as the health and safety of the American people in the drugs, foods and products they consume and use. If our water is so safe why are so many Americans purchasing additional water purifiers for their homes? If our air is so safe why are air purifiers sold in the millions? If our streets are so safe why are Americans spending billions of dollars annually on their security and personal safety? If we are such an accomplished superpower why is our national debt and annual deficit looming as a potential economic crisis? Is the nation's economic house in order or disorder? If it is in economic disorder or impending disorder how is the coziness of Congress with lobbyists consistent with good and sound policies and plans for the American people? If the country is in an impending economic crisis why is there no national alarm bell being sounded?

Oh, there is no economic crisis looming engendered by national government!, supporters of the status quo maintain and ask, Where is the proof? Rocketing oil prices, steep increases in cost of goods and services, huge and chronic national debt and deficits are real indicators for a precarious economic future for the country.

Why are lobbyists so prized by Congress? A member of Congress might reply: I need their money {campaign donations} to get re-elected. A constituent of a member of Congress might reply: He's the best member of Congress money can buy because he makes sure federal money gets to my district.

Finally, former members of Congress, their spouses, their family and friends, prize lobbying jobs. In fact, lobbyists are among the wealthiest and most prominent Americans working in Washington, D.C.

What happens to a people and nation with a government of lobbyists, by lobbyists and for lobbyists?

Friday, August 25, 2006

The inconvenient truths are mounting from the lack of WMDs in Iraq to manufacturered threats from Iran to billions of dollars unaccounted for in U.S. government spending in Iraq as well as domestically in many areas of government from HUD to the myriad agencies of government that spend resources like there is no tomorrow.

Congress does not truly make our government accountable and as an institution Congress has permitted the executive branch to spend money without restraint. Where resources are needed like in natural disasters, more comprehensive health care and safety of food and drugs the U.S. government is often miserly. Government of the people, by the people and for the people is being turned on its head to mean instead a government of lobbyists, by lobbyists and for lobbyists. Who is government representing?

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