Tag: Lobbying

Member Post

 

Chevy Chase, MD, is an affluent suburb of Washington DC. Median household income is over $250K, and a significant percentage of households have incomes that are much, much higher.  The area includes many high-end stores and restaurants. PowerLine observed in 2009 that during the 2008 election season, yards in Chevy Chase were thick with Obama […]

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Member Post

 

There are two things I know about – okay, three – the Republican Party, Corporations, and the US Senate. I’ve toiled in all three vineyards over a 40+ year career – most of it in the corporate world, to be honest. I’ve been involved in 35 GOP US Senate and House campaigns in 25 states; […]

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A Tale of Two Lobbies

 

On Sunday, 15,000 will converge on Washington, DC for the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the country’s largest pro-Israel lobbying organization, knows how to throw a party. It is a marvel of organization, with every contingency anticipated and planned for. There are events for young and old and everyone in between. “Delegates” will get to meet with their representatives — two-thirds of Congress will be attending — and presidential candidates from both parties will deliver addresses.

AIPAC’s mission and methods are often misunderstood. Three principles govern its approach. First, it focuses on Congress. Although it may issue a policy statement from time to time, it seeks to develop relationships and influence the legislative branch, not the executive. Second, it is an American organization. It only advocates policies and legislation that it perceives of benefit to both the US and Israel. And third, it works hard to maintain a nonpartisan posture. Any legislation it lobbies for must have both Republican and Democrat co-sponsors.

What Should We Say to Democratic Congressmen about Iran?

 

demophoneCongress will have a recess period before it votes on the Vienna Agreement with Iran via the Corker bill. Anyone who has both Republican senators and a Republican representative will almost certainly have no need to convince them to vote against the agreement.

All the action is, therefore, with the Democrats. It was Milton Friedman who said that the secret of good government is “making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.” That is precisely the task at hand over the next seven weeks.

I’m a spectator because I live in a state with two Republican senators and my representative is a member of the Republican leadership. No need to worry about how they will vote!

The Sweetest Racket

 

shutterstock_202875223My wife and I have different approaches when it comes to the kids and dessert. She, in some attempt to instill “discipline,” rations out the sweets as if we were under a medieval siege. I — being a liberty-minded person, as well as a spineless spoiling squish — play the part of Willy Wonka without the army of creepy Oompa Loompas. There are good reasons for my approach. For one, I figure there is only going to be enough money for one of us in our old age and I don’t want the kids voting me into the government-run home. Second, my childhood meals were a bit like Lord of the Flies (without the bloodthirsty murders) and I was allowed to consume Pixy Stix as a palate cleanser in between courses of Fun Dip. This contributed to my juvenile cavities, but has turned me off to sugar to the point that I’ll opt for an after-dinner drink over any sort of sweet (though this comes with its own risks, as quickly-ordered slices of cake are less likely to run to $65 each than certain kinds of cognac).

Even as someone who passes on dessert, however, I can’t help but have my blood sugar boil over America’s sugar tariffs. These ridiculous taxes began in the late 18th Century — talk about a government program we can’t get rid of! — and have resulted in U.S. sugar prices often being twice what the rest of the world pays. Now, you might think, “Who cares, Pants? I can see the size of those pleats, and you don’t need any additional cheap carbohydrates in your diet.” Fair enough. But in typical government fashion, this market distortion causes inefficiencies and makes artificial winners and losers. The winners are the roughly 5,000 U.S. sugar producers ,while the losers are the remaining 319,995,000 or so of us. The worst hit are U.S. candy manufacturers and those who they’ve laid off since moving their factories overseas, where sugar can be purchased at market rates. Add to this all the bakers, corner candy stores, Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees, and kids who just want to enjoy a Twinkie between their extremely low-calorie, public school-sanctioned lunch and their fifth period class on historical grievances, and you can see how the losers in this game pile up.

Not to mention the unintended consequences. Thanks to stupid policies that jack up the price of sugar and subsidize the costs of corn production, we end up with unholy products like high fructose corn syrup added to our soda instead of sugar — the way the Good Lord intended it to be sweetened. The other side may like to talk about income gaps, but the sugar protections they support prop up the income of a privileged few at the expense of millions of working Americans.

Get the Politics Out of Money

 

George Will’s Prager University video on the regulation of political speech is one of the best the site has ever produced: it’s insightful, slick, and hard-hitting without being explicitly partisan. Watch the whole thing and post it on Facebook; it might get someone thinking. Towards the end, however, Will makes a point in passing that deserved more attention: