What’s Bad For K Street is Good for Americans

“K St. lobbyists predict a big rebound in 2013,” blared in gigantic bold letters at the top of the front-page article in “The Hill” newspaper on March 5, 2013.  Let us all hope that headline is not true.  Because what is good for K Street is bad for American taxpayers and vice versa, for the most part.  Those of us who have worked on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. have friends who are or have been corporate lobbyists on K Street which runs parallel to Constitution and Independence Avenues, between the Capitol Building and the White House.  “The Hill” article reported that “K Street firms are predicting a strong rebound in 2013.”

The term lobbyist is said to have originated in the lobby of the majestic Willard Hotel visited by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant in Washington D.C. near the White House.  The business owners in the mid-1800’s were trying to get a piece of the federal largesse pie.  The lobby industry has grown exponentially in the past few decades and rules and regulations have also grown exponentially as well. There are now some 15,000 federal lobbyists which is almost 30 lobbyists for every member of Congress.  

A recent headline in “The Washington Post” said, As momentum builds toward tax reform, lobbyists prepare for a fight.”  And fight they will to add even more pages to the United States Tax Code which already has a total of 73,608 pages as of the end of 2012; all done to help their corporate bosses.  The “Post” article reported:  “Lobbying over the tax code has more than tripled since Obama took office, disclosure records show.  And the pace of activity accelerated toward the end of last year amid the fight over the ‘fiscal cliff,’ as lawmakers from both parties sought to turn the struggle over tax rates into a discussion about overhauling the tax code.”

K Street is not the dominant location for lobby corporations anymore  -- since many lobby corporations have moved closer to Capitol Hill; closer to the money and the pork doled out by the people’s representatives  --  but it is still the symbol for pork-barrel spending and for crony capitalism.   When K Street lobbyists succeed, we American taxpayers are on the hook for countless billions of dollars; much of which are spent on wasteful projects. Indeed, former Bush 41 White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray, has a column in today’s “The Washington Times” entitled “Crony capitalism creates an opening for Republicans to exploit.”  

What better way for Republicans to gain back the blue-collar Reagan Democrats it lost when the national party put up establishment (mostly millionaire) presidential candidates for the last several decades  --  most especially since President Ronald Reagan left office  --  than by exposing this Democrat/billionaire crony capitalism.

The Republicans can point out to Americans the incestuous relationships between the Democrats/the White House and their numerous corporations   --  and their lobbyists in Washington D.C.  --   run by left-wing billionaires such as Starbuck’s chief executive Howard Schultz; Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates; Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet; and most recently, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, all of whom give money to liberal causes and mostly to top Democrat politicians. 

An example of the arrogance of a lot of Obama’s billionaires occurred last Wednesday, at Starbucks’ annual meeting in Seattle, when Howard Schultz appeared to tell conservatives who don’t like his left-wing causes to effectively “buzz off.”   He doesn’t care about their business.  When a shareholder complained to Schultz that Starbucks has lost customers because of its support for homosexual marriage  --  and for Washington state’s referendum backing such arrangements  --  Schultz went on a well-publicized attack against the Starbucks’ shareholder.  

I somehow think that John D. Rockefeller or Henry Ford would never have turned away potential customers by getting involved in left-wing causes.