Follow the money

Follow the money

A recent edition of the New York Times revealed the results of an investigation. It showed that lobbyists in Washington are spending more than $3 billion per year lobbying Congress. A recent analysis conducted by former Agriculture Ctommissioner Jim Hightower identified amounts of money spent on lobbying in campaign contributions by category. His report was broken down by financial institutions, pro sports, radio, television and publishing companies. But the most interesting to me were the contributions of health care corporations. The top 13 health care companies donated a little over $9 million in the last election cycle. Ninety-five percent of all of this went to Republicans.

Oil and gas interests, clothing manufacturers, food processors and paper companies, along with coal miners and insurance companies, contributed far more than $9 million each in the last election cycle. Again, the vast majority of their contributions went to Republicans.

Before you decide listening to Fox News, writing an occasional letter to your congressman, and standing up for patriotism and free enterprise makes you a great and informed citizen, think again. Follow the money.

What do you think special interests gained by their $3 billion worth of lobbying and an ungodly amount of political contributions? They got freedom from regulation, which very likely was one of the root causes of the disaster at West, Texas, blowing up half a small community right outside Waco.

Health care companies such as rich pharmaceutical firms managed to stave off competition, maintained unbelievable prices for their products, and even prohibited the federal government from negotiating prices of pharmaceuticals for American consumers.

If we decide to talk patriotism, there’s more to it than wearing a tri-cornered hat and dressing up like Paul Revere. Citizens should take an in-depth look at corporations and at their ownership and loyalties. Many of the corporations that spent the $3 billion lobbying Congress, on top of massive donations to Republican candidates, are in many instances owned in significant part by foreign interests. If you ask a high-paid corporate executive of almost any of those publicly traded corporations what their main goal is for their company, it will not be supporting America, Americanism or looking out for American citizens. It will be producing a profit they can report to their board. Their loyalty is not necessarily to any country, but to the bottom line. It boggles my mind that too many middle-class Americans, particularly those working for an hourly wage, have not figured out their own interests when it comes to a contest between the big-money boys and their $3 billion lobbyists, working every day and passing out hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Who comes in first and who comes in second? Do you really believe if you have a small business making $250,000 a year or less, or are working out at one of the plants for even a top-dollar wage, that you would be heard before the lobbyists passing out the big bucks in Congress or Austin? Think again.