Corporations have been working since the 1950’s to figure out how to make the government work for them. If therein lies a problem, money will solve it. Lobbyists work tirelessly to keep their clients bottom line parallel to the dealings in Washington.
The American government allows corporations to come in and heavily court our nations representatives with campaign contributions and kickbacks in exchange for more favorable legislation. Corporations have become so effective- that they have created entire agendas in favor of their causes. An article by The Atlantic outlines the metrics:
Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures – more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million).
Today the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public- interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 consistently represent business.
Some of the most influential contributors in history came from tobacco, sugar, gun and the privatized prison system. If you think about the campaigns in favor of these specific industries, what are some pitfalls? Millions have suffered from tobacco related illness, obesity or sugar/food related illnesses, have been the victim of gun violence, and private prisons are overflowing with people for petty crimes.
Lobbyist ensure there place by having a reliable presence; even if the results of their labor have a negative impact on society. Corporations use their clout to influence public opinion and the propaganda that follows is calculated. Long lasting legislation is dependent on persuading the public to believe that what is proposed is legitimate and most of all resourceful.
Democracy gets lost when civil liberties are for sale to a willing constituent. When effective propaganda is used to favor an entity that has grown bigger than its intended purpose, society is at a loss. Pharmaceutical, insurance, defense and oil companies have seen tremendous and not entirely ethical profits by accommodating government officials.
Are we convinced to vote against our own interests? The answer is all around us: on the news, advertisements and bills. Voting power comes with knowledge, not just what is circulating on televisions and social media. It is imperative to know who is in the pockets of candidates to protect your livelihood. Go beyond party lines and become informed- corporations are betting on it.