If you heard the names Patriot Act, Citizen’s United, or the Defense of Marriage Act, your thought would be that they represent the American people. You would be mistaken. The Patriot Act defends the government’s choice to eliminate the fourth amendment to our Constitution. Citizen’s United allows corporations ‘personhood,’ thereby allowing them to donate unlimited money to political campaigns and literally buy elections. The Defense of Marriage Act is aimed at the LGBT community; it is a bigoted law which would disallow an entire group of Americans the same rights as others by removing their first and 14th amendment rights.
What about Business Roundtable, K Street Project, the National Organization for Marriage, National Rifle Association, or the United States Oil and Gas Association; do you believe these are all organizations which represent the needs of all Americans? You would be sorely mistaken. These are all lobbies representing special interests which frequently oppose the welfare and concerns of average Americans. These are just a few of many. Every type of business, every corporation, and nearly every country has a lobby attempting to influence our legislators for individual interests.
Lobbies are the primary reason why our government fails the American people. To put it bluntly, Congress does not give a damn about the needs or interests of those who elect them; lobbies own them by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars towards campaigns and distributing perks.
In case you didn’t know, the working class is one of the few entities in the United States which does not have a lobby. In other words, we have no representation in Washington.
One phrase which emanates from the mouth of every politician is ‘the American people.’ When they talk in front of television cameras about a specific issue, they say words similar to; “we are working for the best interests of the American people.” Ninety percent of the time the American people oppose positions politicians claim we support.
In 2014 alone, lobbyists spent more than 350 million dollars influencing the votes of those we elected. Who are lobbyists? They are frequently former members of Congress who occasionally resign from office early in their terms to work for special interests who pay higher salaries. Lobbyists who have political experience can have base salaries near 120,000 dollars, not including benefits and bonuses, and they are accountable only to the corporation which pays them. They aren’t forced to campaign for reelection or make insincere speeches.
When I said that there is a lobby for nearly everyone but the working class, I was completely honest. Here are a few strange ones; but they’re real.
Catfish Farmers of America. They spent more than $300,000 in 2011 and $170,000 in 2012 to promote the sale of catfish. They lobbied Congress to disallow regulation over the industry.
California Cling Peach Growers. This lobby represents several California families who grow peaches. They spent $110,000 in 2012 to lobby Congress to take action prohibiting the importation of peaches from China.
Cigar Rights Of America. Spending more than $320,000 in 2012, they influenced Congress to prohibit the regulation of premium cigars under the auspices of the FDA. They also want limited taxation, and the reversal of ‘no smoking’ laws in public.
Americans for Tax Reform. Founded by Grover Norquist this lobby claims it is against any tax increase for all Americans. What it truly supports, through TEA Party efforts, is no increase for the wealthiest one-percent. It has no economic foundation; Americans are the least taxed nation in the free world.
This represents only a few.
By James Turnage