In political discourse, the term lobbying is often thought of in a negative way. This is because lobbyists have earned themselves a reputation of being untrustworthy and even corrupt. Lobbying in itself is certainly not bad though. When a citizen bumps into their elected official on the street and makes recommendations, this is lobbying. When a citizen writes their elected official a letter, this is lobbying. It could even be said that lobbying exemplifies the essence of democracy. Influence has always had a role in politics. However, it is those lobbyists that are paid by specific interests that are the ones who have earned lobbyists their dubious reputation. These special interests have, over the last few decades, increased enormously, and so too has the influence they wield over government and the decision making process.
[...] Each year a substantial number of children are killed and injured working on farms, and many more are injured and killed in many other jobs, yet Congress has succumb to the lobbying of many interest groups like the fast-food chains, and agricultural-interests, and worked to loosen labour laws for children. As such, these very same industries have given millions of dollars in campaign contributions to members of Congress over the years. (Lewis, 1998: 3-5). A trend can be seen in terms of how decisions are made in America, and it can be seen how business lobbying can result in consequences that are not in the best interests of the greater public. [...]
[...] As long as special interests and the business lobby are permitted to influence government in the way they have been, democracy remains at risk. A new approach is needed; one that re-examines who it is that the lawmakers are accountable to, as under the current system, substantial undesirable externalities often result from successful business lobbying. From this it is clear that even though business lobbying can serve a democratic purpose, it is often misused which presents a large-scale threat to the essence of democracy, and for this not to happen it must be an industry that gets reformed and regulated very closely. [...]
[...] The following are some examples of the way in which the business lobby has ensured that governmental decisions are made in the best interest of big business, not the public, thus putting the legitimacy of the government as risk. Congress has long protected the food industry from heightened safety regulations, while receiving millions of dollars in campaign contributions, despite the fact that thousand of people in America die every year from tainted food, and millions will fall ill for the same reason. [...]
[...] In the U.S., the business lobby is always present when a decision in government is being made. This is not to say that they always get their way, but it does ensure that the interest they are representing is very well represented in government, and this information is typically spun in a way that favours the particular interest, thus causing them to have significant influence on the decision and policy making process. (Nownes, 2006). It is hard to prove how much influence business lobbyists actually have, but research suggests that the success of a lobby is directly correlated to the amount of resources that are allocated to the particular issue. [...]
[...] The business lobby was the benefactor of most of this money. The reforms were never passed. (Silverstein, 1998: 9). Another way that business lobbying works to confuse the dynamics in government is through the hiring of ex-lawmakers as their top-guns. Increasingly members of Congress are leaving public service and entering the private sector by means of the business lobbying industry. This has shown to be quite lucrative for ex-lawmakers, as their political clout makes them very valuable to special interests that are seeking to have a say in policy making. [...]
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