Is Government Dominated by BusinessSpecial interest groups have dominated government since the advent ofAmerica’s political system. Special interest groups or lobbies are collectionsof individuals who join together to pursue common interests and to influencethe decisions on public policies. Many people view special interest groups asan integral part of the political process, legitimized by the first amendmentof the Constitution. In that way, special interest groups are good. The pointthat disgusts many people is that more often then not money overpowers theright decision;that is why Big Business is a problem.
Thericher thecompanies and organizations, the better chance they have to persuade thegovernment officials. In the United States alone there are thousands of special interestgroups working for their own cause. Some of the causes they are working forare:business, banking, labor, environment, women, seniors, the economy, andfarming just to name a few. Some groups or businesses which partake inlobbying are:N.
O. W. , Green Peace, AFL-CIO, Teamsters, Sierra Club, N. R. A.Order now
,Tobacco industry and the ACLU. These groups often work at the national, state,and local levels attempting to influence government policy. Many groups havepermanent offices in Washington DC. The primary goals of these groups are thepassing, blocking, or amending legislation to achieve a favorable ruling fortheir own benefit. In Washington the groups primary targets are the House andSenate sub-committees which are the key places where legislation is considered.
The groups often speak in front of Committee hearings to put their views on therecord. One of the most well known special interest group is the National RifleAssociation. This group has done tireless work in Washington trying to stop GunControl bills from passing in Congress. The worst blow that happened to theNRA was the passing of the Brady Bill and the Assault Rifle Ban.
The NRAbelieves this is an infringement on the constitutional rights of all Americans. Recently after a huge lobby in Washington, the NRA forced the Senate to haveanother vote on the Assault Rifle ban. The way the NRA forces the senate is asfollowed: the NRA gets together with some senators that they know want torepeal the ban. The NRA gives money to the senators for their campaigns, etc. The senators then persuade other senators and the NRA has them on their side aswell.
When the NRA captures enough senators, it forces Congress to bring it tothe floor and debate about the issue. In this case, the NRA failed. However,the NRA will continue to support the senators that are a help to the cause andwill eventually force another vote in Congress. This happens daily inWashington. All segments of business and industry have lobbyists. It seemsthat private citizens are the only group on their own.
The lumber and paper industry is an important business to many people. They too lobby in Washington to ensure that no restrictions are put on theirjobs. There is another group fighting against the lumber industry and that isthe environmentalists. The “Greens” feel that the loggers should not beallowed to cut down as many trees as they do. These two groups confer withsenators at the state and national level trying to persuade them to their side.
However, the loggers’ unions join the big companies to protect their jobs. This is a very steep . . .
. . obstacle for the “Tree Huggers” to overcome. The lumberindustry wins due to the money they have at their disposal.
Political Action Committees are other groups which help in thepersuasion of Congressional people. PAC’s are organizations established byprivate groups to support a candidate for public office. “In 1971 PAC’s becameincreasingly popular because the ban on the use of corporate money to set upPAC’s was lifted”(Groliers “PAC”). PAC’s contribute enormous amounts of moneyinto the campaigns for political candidates. The amounts are increasing everyyear and it is a multi- million dollar business.
Single Issue politics is alsoa problem. This form of politics is quite popular these days, it is whenindividuals or groups support or reject a candidate based on one view of acertain issue. The types of issues include abortion and gun control to nametwo. It is now a lot easier for the Special Interest Groups to persuade thelawmakers.
The spread of direct primaries, television-based campaigning, andthe decline of the traditional political party strengths has left manylegislatures vulnerable to special interest groups. The advances in technologyhave strengthened these groups power since they can be heard by more people. This access to mass medid also makes them more appealing to the candidates.The amount of money spent through lobbying is outrageous.”In the