Saturday, February 13, 2010

Money and Politics

Reports about a 5% increase in spending on federal lobbying last year will doubtless result in endless jeremiads about the amount of money in politics. Certainly, the question of whether this or that group has undue political influence is a matter worthy of public debate. However, such debate should include the following consideration:

In no year in American history has the federal government, through Congress and the Administration, proposed such far reaching proposals regulating such a broad spectrum of the American economy -- health care, finance, energy, transportation, housing, and so on. It is to be expected that sectors of the economy facing the prospect of new and increasing regulation will attempt to influence what is being done to them.

Arguing that some group has "too much influence" raises the difficulty of someone determining how much influence is enough. Leaving that aside, people and industries being acted upon by the federal government should not be blamed for exercising their fundamental right to defend themselves.


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