Lobbyists Only One Side of Washington Influence Coin

By Starr, Richard | Insight on the News, February 22, 1993 | Go to article overview

Lobbyists Only One Side of Washington Influence Coin


Starr, Richard, Insight on the News


Here's a sure bet to make on the Clinton years. Four years from now - despite President Clinton's professed distaste for lobbyists and promulgation of new ethics rules for his staff - Washington will enjoy far more lobbying than it already does.

This will prove true even if it turns out that the president was sincere in his campaign pledge to add "more restrictions on lobbyists" and that the appointment to his Cabinet of superlobbyists like Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was merely an aberration.

Railing against lobbyists is good politics. Making laws, as the old saying has it, is like making sausages - you don't want to know the details of how it's done. And lobbyists are the sausage makers of democracy.

Widespread distaste for the business of swaying government decisions for pay is understandable. But the business itself is not always fully understood. And ritual denunciations of Washington lobbyists, like those of candidate Clinton, don't help because they routinely leave out the most interesting half of the problem, the half that politicians are least inclined to solve. That's the growth - in size, ambition and intrusiveness - of the federal government.

While it's true that there always have been lobbyists in Washington, and probably always will be a few, it's also true that their number has exploded in recent years. Jeffrey Birnbaum, a Wall Street Journal reporter, estimates in his new book, The Lobbyists, that there are now 80,000 lobbyists in Washington, double what there were a decade ago.

The standard explanations - Republican cupidity, lax ethics laws, campaigns that run on private money - can't begin to account for this rapid growth. Nor will the standard solutions - a Democrat in the White House, tighter ethics laws, government financing of campaigns - slow the growth.

What these explanations and solutions leave out is the salient fact that lobbying has grown in tandem with the modern regulatory state, in which thousands of clerks - from congressional staffers to bureaucrats at the regulatory agencies - have the power at the stroke of a pen to reward or punish citizens and businesses to the tune of millions or even billions of dollars. With that kind of money at stake on a daily basis, it's laughable to think that restrictions on the future employment of a few dozen high-ranking executive branch officials will throw a wrench into the lobbying machine.

Only one thing can be reliably counted on to reduce lobbying in the long term, a federal government that's less worth lobbying - smaller, simpler and not as ambitious. To give just one example: A flat tax would eliminate the jobs of countless lobbyists whose business is to seek favors in the tax code. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Lobbyists Only One Side of Washington Influence Coin
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.