More Than $3.3B Nets Lobbyists the Best Government Money Can Buy

In their unrelenting contempt for the general population, it has become glaringly evident over the course of this past decade that the U.S. Congress has become so rife with corruption — the best government that money can buy if you lobby for a large corporation — and complete disdain for the oaths they swear to upon taking office, that America has been sold out.

Despite having about 1,500 fewer registered lobbyists in town this year, last year’s record of $3.3 billion dollars that was spent lobbying Congress and the rest of the federal government is reportedly on track to be shattered according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Main Street continues losing jobs while seeing little if any evidence of the economic revival the ‘experts’ continue eluding to while K Street continues raking it in. Despite his pledge to reign in lobbyists and the influence they possess in Washington, many lobbying firms escaped the worst of the economic crisis thanks to President Obama’s massive economic stimulus package that he kicked off his Presidency with.

Traditional big spenders like the real estate and telecommunications sectors, as with many other sectors, cut down on the amount of money they gave to K Street but legislation on health reform, financial reform and climate change has made up for K Street’s lost compensation during these challenging economic times.

Lobbying Expenditures Expected to Exceed the $3.3B Spent in 2008

It’s been a great year for lobbyists. James Thurber, director of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential studies says, according to Politico, that “It is the most active time that I have ever seen in the advocacy business — from 1973 on.” Lobbyists have been very busy and it appears that things will not be slowing down any time soon.

Official lobbying expenditure figures for 2009 aren’t available until January 2010, but Thurber and others predict that the total will exceed the $3.3 billion spent in 2008. Lobbying groups spent $2.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2009. The fourth quarter has been extremely busy on Capitol Hill with the ongoing fight over financial and health care reform. Health care lobbyists have been spending like crazy.

Reported lobbying expenditures don’t include all the cash that interest groups throw at advertising, coalition-building, grass-roots and AstroTurf outreach. None of those are reported. According to Bloomberg News, More than $600 million has been spent so far this year trying to influence U.S. lawmakers working to overhaul the health-care system and the health industry spent $396 million through Sept. 30 — 9 percent more than the same period a year ago.

PhRMA, a top lobbying group for drug makers, spent $20.2 million during the first 3 quarters of 2009 — just as much as it did during all of 2008. America’s Health Insurance lobby also spent the same during the first 3 quarters of 2009 that they spent in 2008. The Credit Union National Association has also already spent more this year than it did last year. If lobbying the federal government wasn’t effective, money wouldn’t be spent doing it. It’s time to reform lobbying laws.

Inequality is Fundamental to a Political System that Destroys Democracy

When the prices of insurance company stocks rise sharply on news that health care reform is close to passage, it’s not a good sign for the public. We live in a time, as noted by TruthOut, when public values are subordinated to the rationality of profits, exchange values and unbridled self-interest, politics and the institutions and culture that support it become corrupt, devoid of agents and reduced to empty rituals largely orchestrated by those who control the wealth, income, media and commanding institutions of American society.

As the health care debates on reform have shown, the interests of the vast majority of American people for a public option have been totally wasted because of a Congress that has been corrupted by power and massive amounts of money many in Congress have received as payment for making sure that real, meaningful reform never occurs. It’s not just Republicans or Democrats that have profited greatly at the expense of many. Both major parties have profited greatly at the expense of the vast majority of the American people. The U.S. Congress has been bought off by lobbyists and special interests. The U.S. Congress is owned by the Israeli lobby.

Large corporations, such as those that control the military-industrial-complex now shape U.S. policies. When it comes to health care or financial reform, large corporations that stand to lose egregious profits control the actions of those that have been bought off in Washington.

This past decade has revealed how badly calls for security have lost any semblance to truth and political necessity, and how Democracy has been lost to an imperial presidency illegally created under George W. Bush after his appointment to the presidency by a corrupt U.S. Supreme Court, only to be carried on by Barack Obama, undermining crucial civil liberties while creating an atmosphere of unending fear in order to coerce the population into compliance.

As also noted by TruthOut, inequality is not just a normal outgrowth of a market driven economy; it is fundamental to a political system that destroys Democracy. A country that, like America, allows the power and money of multi-national corporations to be exempt from the rule of democratic law has already lost the battle between balancing civil liberties and national security. Calls for further destroying civil liberties suggest a dangerous silence about the degree to which civil liberties are already at risk and how the current call for national safety might work to further a different type of terrorism, not one marked by bombs and explosions, but one that is supported and manufactured by the government in order to eliminate dissent and kill democracy.

Risk and Fraud on Wall Street Have Grown Excessively

Earlier this month President Obama claimed he was not elected to help the ‘fat cats,’ but apparently the cats didn’t get that memo. It’s true, as noted by AlterNet, that Obama inherited a huge financial mess from The Bush administration, but Obama and his appointees have spent the year talking about fighting the risk and fraud on Wall Street while both have grown excessively.

Instead of passing meaningful financial ‘reform,’ a bill in Congress leaves the bulk of the fraudulent banking landscape intact. In the meantime, Wall Street will once again toss around toxic assets they created, turning them into new ways to defraud Americans while profiting from credit derivatives trading and paying itself billions of dollars in bonuses for being able to once again get away with defrauding and deceiving the American public while those Washington reap the benefits of their large lobbying expenditures.

The only thing bailing out the financial industry did was create more of a burden on U.S. taxpayers while enriching those responsible for defrauding them in the first place. A list of Wall Street’s 10 greatest lies that justify screwing over Main Street can be found from AlterNet. So far, there are at least 3 fraud probes that are targeting Goldman Sachs and AIG. Time will tell how many more there will be.

Political Theater Only Makes our Problems Worse

Nothing was done to punish those in the Bush administration that broke so many international and U.S. laws, tortured, committed numerous war crimes or defrauded the U.S. out of billions of dollars because those that control the Congressional puppet strings also control the White House and the ‘Justice’ system. America has been infiltrated by a cancerous growth that has destroyed Democracy and the lives of millions of Americans. These bogus cries of ‘looking forward’ and not looking back are nothing more than feeble attempts to keep crimes that were committed with the blessings of so many in Congress hidden and covered up. It’s time for some chemotherapy to rid ourselves of this cancerous growth.

As with the War on Drugs, the War on Terror is nothing more than a pitiful exercise of political theater that only makes our problems worse. All the money being wasted on increasing Government employees to ‘keep American’s safe’ would be better used elsewhere to cure the sick, feed the hungry and create jobs. Airport Security is a farce that has once again proven to be nothing but very troublesome for air travelers. How many large corporations have profited from the hyped up ‘security?’ Instead of actually keeping Americans safe, Washington has spent the past decade trying to create terrorists out of virtually every one.

Passing new ‘Laws’ — or illegal power grabs, depending on how you look at it — is, as noted by the Times Online, largely irrelevant and illusory, and oftentimes counter-productive. For the past decade, the U.S. Congress has proven repeatedly that they serve the corporations they’re supposed to protect the American population from, they can’t govern themselves or this country and they can’t be trusted to investigate themselves regardless of how heinous the crime(s) might be. Washington refuses to hold itself accountable so it’s up to the American people to do it. Corruption in Congress and the rest of Washington is running rampant and needs to be stopped.

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