- THE AMERICAN THINKER - Nov 21, 2020 -
I confess to having been utterly naïve. I had wondered why on Earth the business community would prefer a frail and corrupt president Biden over a pro-business president Trump. Trump has a track record of economic growth and stands for lower regulations and taxes, fairer international trade, and a stronger military. Biden wants to increase taxes and regs and put in place a number of new initiatives like the Green New Deal that might bankrupt the economy. But Wall Street, the tech industry, and many more backed Biden, while even many GOP congressmen seemed lukewarm to Trump.
The choice for Trump seemed so obvious, what was I missing?
The difference is the status quo. A lot of people make lots of money the way things are now. They constitute a powerful force that seeks to get rid of inconvenient obstacles — especially a serial disruptor like President Trump.
Let's take Amgen, for example. A biopharmaceutical company, Amgen has annual revenues of $23 billion with profits of $7.8 billion. Much of Amgen's sales and profitability are dictated by rules and regulations set by the U.S. government. Much of Amgen's ability to access its consumers is through the U.S. government's auspices, whether it be FDA drug approvals, Medicare drug pricing, or other controlling regulations.
So if you were Amgen, and you relied on the U.S. government for much of your revenue, how much would you be willing to spend each year on lobbying in Washington? Certainly $1 million would be a drop in the bucket compared to that $7.8 billion in profits. Would you spend $5 million, $10 million? What if there was important legislation underway, like another health care overhaul? Might you want to increase your lobbyist spending further into the hundreds of millions?
Amgen was picked at random. It's only the seventh largest health care company, and every such company in the top 20 has annual profits over $2 billion. Each has its own budget for lobbyists, all likely in the many millions of dollars. That's a lot of money allocated to lobbyists!
And this is only for health care. What about other industries, like defense contracting, that rely primarily on U.S. government purchases? General Dynamics Corp. is the sixth largest such contractor with $19.5 billion in annual sales. In 2019, it signed a $5.1-billion contract with the U.S. government to develop a prototype submarine.
What annual budget do you think General Dynamics Corp. has for lobbyists? A 5% commission of that one contract alone would amount to $255 million.
Multiply all of these numbers by the myriad other industries that seek to obtain or maintain advantages with the U.S. government, and you might come to a shocking conclusion. The amount of potential money for lobbyists in Washington, D.C. is almost limitless. And it will likely only get bigger.
It's no wonder that the counties around Washington, D.C. have the highest per capita income in the nation!
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