Friday, October 28, 2011

Lobbyists too powerful because government is too powerful

As a member of the Libertarian Party, I frequently get e-mails from national party Chairman Mark Hinkle and Executive Director Wes Benedict. I read them and usually delete them. However, today's message from Mr. Hinkle gets right to the root of the problem with big government. I am quoting it in full:

"President Obama is currently caught in a bit of a scandal over his pledge not to take campaign money from lobbyists.
"According to the New York Times, 'Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid.'

"It's unfortunate that the president has added one more to his pile of broken promises. But it's not at all surprising.

"Our government has far too much power and money at its disposal. The inevitable consequence is that businesses, organizations, and individuals will work very hard to guide that power and money in their own favor.

"In fact, it often seems like politicians intentionally create incentives for people to try to bribe them.

"Businesses especially will fight for more corporate welfare, and also for regulations that stifle potential competitors. What choice do they have? If they don't fight for those special government favors, then someone else will, which will put them at an increasing disadvantage, and might drive them out of business.

"A recent Economist article pointed out that over the last ten years, companies that lobbied heavily had a much bigger increase in stock value than those that didn't. Executives might conclude that if you're not lobbying, you're ripping off your shareholders!

"And of course, these entities that stand to benefit from government favors will work hard (and spend hard) to get friendly politicians elected.

"Some people feel that massive campaign finance regulations will stop this unholy bargaining. It won't. When the dust settles, campaign finance restrictions usually just make life easier for incumbents and harder for challengers. We Libertarians know that only too well.

"I have to remind myself, lobbying isn't essentially a bad thing. It's an expression of our right to 'petition the government for a redress of grievances.' It provides information to politicians. But when politicians get in the habit of handing out favors, you can bet everyone is going to run up to the trough.

"The only way to reduce the power of lobbyists is to reduce the power of government. That choice rests with the voters. If voters keep electing Democrats and Republicans, then the power of government and lobbyists will continue to grow. If voters start electing Libertarians, things will change."
Besides voting Libertarian, the only long-term solution to lobbyists is to decentralize government so much that lobbying becomes impractical, except by local citizens and businesses.

1 comment:

John McAlister said...

Frank Chodorov wrote about this in 1959 in his book _Rise & Fall of Society_. It has only gotten worse since.