From Gordon Tullock:
Politics is about concentrating benefits on well-organized and well-informed interest groups, and dispersing costs on the unorganized and ill-informed masses.
Taken from Pete Boettke's new book Living Economics.
I couldn't help but think about Tullock's insight while reading this piece in today's News & Observer about the changes that have taken place in rankings of the top lobbyists in NC following the Republican takeover of both Houses after 100 years of control by the Democrats.
The top 10 features mostly lobbyists with Republican ties, a reversal from two years ago when Democrats filled the upper echelon.
“The issues in the last two years allowed to be heard and debated have dramatically changed,” explained Connie Wilson, a former GOP lawmaker who became a lobbyist after leaving office in 2004. Wilson is ranked No. 7 after not making the top 55 in 2010. “There is an increased demand for Republican lobbyists,” she added.
The special interests that hired the top lobbyists in the 2011-2012 legislative session were predominantly health care and energy entities.
Government of the people, by the people and for the people serves the interests of the people. Legislation is limited and fairly consistent; it does not change at the whim of business or other interests that are required compete in a marketplace committed to serving the interests of consumers, not the corporations, unions, teachers, etc. Therefore, even when control of the legislature changes, if legislation truly serves the general welfare of the people there should be little, if any, change in the rules and legislation. If, however, government serves the interests of the politically connected, then we shouldn't be surprised that as power changes from one party to the other, rules and legislation change, and so then do the top lobbyists.
Even more disturbing.
“The rankings shed light on what is often an invisible process,” said Ran Coble, the center’s executive director.
Seven lobbyists ranked are former lawmakers, who are required by state law to not lobby their former colleagues for six months after leaving office.
“Former legislators know what it takes to make things happen,” Coble said. “They also have long-term relationships with their former colleagues that can open doors.”
The general partisan shift didn’t surprise Rep. Leo Daughtry, a Smithfield Republican. “That’s the way it works,” he said.
Yes, invisible and behind closed doors is the way it works, but that was the reason for constitutional constraints on what we can achieve through the political process. If you've not seen the CBS 60 Minutes piece about Jack Abramoff below, it's well worth watching.
What really gets to me is that this is published in a newspaper that a) sees no limits to government control, and b) unless apparently it's Republicans who control the legislature.
Here's Mike Munger with more insight.