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Is government dominated by big business

Is Government Dominated by Business

Special interest groups have dominated government since the advent of America's

political system. Special interest groups or lobbies are collections of individuals who

join together to pursue common interests and to influence the decisions on public

policies. Many people view special interest groups as an integral part of the political

process, legitimized by the first amendment of the Constitution. In that way, special

interest groups are good. The point that disgusts many people is that more often then not

money overpowers the right decision; that is why Big Business is a problem. The richer

the companies and organizations, the better chance they have to persuade the government

officials.

In the United States alone there are thousands of special interest groups working

for their own cause. Some of the causes they are working for are: business, banking,

labor, environment, women, seniors, the economy, and farming just to name a few.

Some groups or businesses which partake in lobbying are: N.O.W., Green Peace, AFL-

CIO, Teamsters, Sierra Club, N.R.A., Tobacco industry and the ACLU. These groups

often work at the national, state, and local levels attempting to influence government

policy. Many groups have permanent offices in Washington DC. The primary goals of

these groups are the passing, blocking, or amending legislation to achieve a favorable

ruling for their own benefit. In Washington the groups primary targets are the House and

Senate sub-committees which are the key places where legislation is considered. The

groups often speak in front of Committee hearings to put their views on the record.

One of the most well known special interest group is the National Rifle

Association. This group has done tireless work in Washington trying to stop Gun Control

bills from passing in Congress. The worst blow that happened to the NRA was the

passing of the Brady Bill and the Assault Rifle Ban. The NRA believes this is an

infringement on the constitutional rights of all Americans. Recently after a huge lobby in

Washington, the NRA forced the Senate to have another vote on the Assault Rifle ban.

The way the NRA forces the senate is as followed: the NRA gets together with some

senators that they know want to repeal the ban. The NRA gives money to the senators for

their campaigns, etc. The senators then persuade other senators and the NRA has them

on their side as well. When the NRA captures enough senators, it forces Congress to

bring it to the floor and debate about the issue. In this case, the NRA failed. However,

the NRA will continue to support the senators that are a help to the cause and will

eventually force another vote in Congress. This happens daily in Washington. All

segments of business and industry have lobbyists. It seems that private citizens are the

only group on their own.

The lumber and paper industry is an important business to many people. They too

lobby in Washington to ensure that no restrictions are put on their jobs. There is another

group fighting against the lumber industry and that is the environmentalists. The

"Greens" feel that the loggers should not be allowed to cut down as many trees as they

do. These two groups confer with senators at the state and national level trying to

persuade them to their side. However, the loggers' unions join the big companies to

protect their jobs. This is a very steep obstacle for the "Tree Huggers" to overcome. The

lumber industry wins due to the money they have at their disposal.

Political Action Committees are other groups which help in the persuasion of

Congressional people. PAC's are organizations established by private groups to support a

candidate for public office. "In 1971 PAC's became increasingly popular because the ban

on the use of corporate money to set up PAC's was lifted"(Groliers "PAC"). PAC's

contribute enormous amounts of money into the campaigns for political candidates. The

amounts are increasing every year and it is a multi- million dollar business. Single Issue

politics is also a problem. This form of politics is quite popular these days, it is when

individuals or groups support or reject a candidate based on one view of a certain issue.

The types of issues include abortion and gun control to name two.

It is now a lot easier for the Special Interest Groups to persuade the lawmakers.

The spread of direct primaries, television-based campaigning, and the decline of the

traditional political party strengths has left many legislatures vulnerable to special

interest groups. The advances in technology have strengthened these groups power since

they can be heard by more people. This access to mass medid also makes them more

appealing to the candidates.

The amount of money spent through lobbying is outrageous. "In the first half of

1996 lobby's spent at least $400 million dollars to influence the federal government"

("Lobbyists"). "One of the largest spenders being Phillip Morris which has spent an

estimated $11.3 million dollars in the first half"("Lobbyists"). This exorbitant amount of

money being spent by one of the largest tobacco companies can be attributed to the

governments recent threats made against the industry. Philip Morris is obviously trying

to coheres anyone into believing in their case.

Big Business seems to have dramatically impacted the political system of this

country. The United States is a country of equality and freedom of speech. These

lobbying groups hurt the integrity of what this country is all about. We think of the

United States as a country ruled by a democracy. The lobbying groups view this country

as their country, they tell the legislatures to do something hand them a check the receiver

will do what the group wants, not what the people want. We do not elect Congress

people to be puppets for the rich businesses and groups who are self-centered and only

care about themselves. We elect them to do what is best for the public.

I believe there has to be a limit with what the lobbies can do financially. I know

there has been attempts made to control the groups but, it is not enough. The United

States needs to continue to give people equal say in the laws which govern our society.

Our lawmakers can not listen to the voice of reason in one ear and hear the crinkling of

money in the other and have to make a decision. It is human nature to want money. It is

sad but true for the right price almost anyone can change there mind on something. The

only way for this equality to happen is to get rid of these special interest groups and

PAC's and lobbies. The answer is YES government is dominated by Big Business.

Works Cited:

"Political Action Committee." The 1995 Groliers Multimedia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM.

"Lobbyists spent $400 million in first half of year." Portland Press Herald 23 Sept. 1996

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