by Dan Mitchell
- This is true for tax policy.
- And I mean very true for tax policy.
- This is true for trade policy.
- This is true for bailout policy.
- This is true for regulatory policy.
- This is true for spending policy.
- This is true for health policy.
- This is true for business policy.
- And it’s true for environment policy.
But it’s always a surprise when left-leaning journalistic outfits accidentally stumble on the truth. As evinced by excerpts from this story from Jonathan O’Connell and Anu Narayanswamy in the Washington Post.
President Biden’s domestic…drew unprecedented attention from Washington lobbyists and special interest groups last year. The lobbying industry had a record year in 2021, taking in $3.7 billion in revenue as companies, associations and other organizations pressed Congress and the Biden administration over trillions of dollars in new pandemic spending and rules… The jump in 2021, when lobbying spending was about 6 percent higher than 2020, came as the government’s pandemic interventions and record expenditure took center stage, including an additional $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
Needless to say, the explosion of lobbying is a predictable response to politicians having an additional $3 trillion-plus of other people’s money to distribute to their political supporters.
Not to mention the massive expansion of regulation and red tape, some general and some because of the pandemic.
What worries me is that this expansion will be permanent.
Thousands of companies and organizations appeared to hire lobbyists for the first time during the pandemic, as more than 3,700 companies and other groups that spent no money lobbying the government in 2019 paid lobbyists last year. ..,Among the new entrants are dozens of health-care, technology, tourism and recreation companies, including individual museums, theaters and entertainment firms. …Some of those groups may have hired lobbyists as a temporary measure initially but decided to increase their spending as the pandemic continued, said Dan Auble, an OpenSecrets senior researcher. …“I think it’s likely there are some people who came to Washington a couple of years ago and have stuck around, or industries that realized the benefits they could accrue by having an active presence in Washington.”
I’m somewhat nauseated by “the benefits they could accrue by having an active presence in Washington.”
That phrase is like thieves discussing the benefits they could accrue by having an active presence near ATMs.
But notice that I didn’t write that I was totally nauseated. That’s because lobbying is not inherently unethical. There are groups that feel compelled to hire lobbyists merely because they want to protect themselves from being hurt by high tax rates, pointless red tape, and misguided trade rules.
They simply want to be left alone.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a society where good people didn’t have to worry about predatory politicians (and a world where bad people didn’t have the ability to steal from others by using government?