For those who believe that lobbying is a cost borne by individuals, institutions and corporations seeking to persuade their political representatives to confer some particular advantage on themselves or their industry or, alternatively, to deny some particular advantage to their competitors, is to be naive.
Keep in mind that competition is not about fairness or a level playing field, it is about securing a competitive advantage by any legal means – hopefully resulting in benefits to the consumer. This is the engine that drives innovation and the capitalist system.
Also keep in mind that legislators turn to lobbyists for substantial amounts of campaign funding and efforts to help turn out voter support. Therefore, the often disregard the interests of the consumer and promote the cause of the special interests.
And that’s why I am asking you to vote the democrats – beholden to the unions – out of office. The reason for my request will become crystal clear as you read this blog entry.
An illustrative example …
We find that shipping giants, United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (FedEx) are locked in a battle for both consumer and commercial shipping business.
Both have truck and airplane fleets and offer the exact same service: moving a package from here to there with a degree of speed and certainty that is not often found in the United States Post Office. However, the prime difference is the degree of unionization found in each organization.
For those who are unfamiliar with unions, they can be characterized by increasing salary, benefit and retirement plans; increasing complex contracts, onerous work rules and procedures; and they tend to reward seniority over productivity, merit and achievement.
FedEx is not subject to the same work rules as UPS and therefore has a lower cost advantage for moving packages which is conveyed to the consumer in the form of lowers delivery prices. Additionally, FedEx is not subject to a union contract which hampers their ability to compete in the market when economic conditions are poor.
UPS is upset at this situation and at the fact that FedEx workers want to remain union free. Not to mention the union which sees a large potential in union dues and the ability to gain control over multi-millions in pension fund investments.
Using government as a competitive weapon …
UPS has used its and the unions lobbyists to convince a legislator to slip 230 words into an unrelated spending bill to make it easier for the Teamsters’ union to unionize Federal Express and thus even the costs of labor needed to carry packages.
The loser is YOU, the consumer, who ultimately pays for all of the goods and services shipped by the carriers. No real competition. No real price advantages. No commercial advantage to those who innovate and provide superior services to the shipping marketplace. Plus a surcharge for the union and its lobbyists.
How it was handled in the media …
Let’s see how Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's Lobbying Editor describes the fight in his “K Street” column …
“FedEx, because it was created as an air carrier (UPS carries most of its cargo by truck) is regulated under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Congress, back in the 1920s, worked hand-in-hand with the rail companies to ensure profit in a risky enterprise, and so it is harder to unionize under the RLA than under the NLRA. Specifically, it takes a nationwide vote of a company's employees in order to unionize. Air cargo shippers, such as FedEx, have the same protection.”
“In mid-2007, UPS hired the lobbying firm Holland & Knight, urging Congress to ‘change the Railway Labor Act definitions using general legislation and appropriations legislation,’ according to federal lobbying filings. Last month, UPS's lobbyists appear to have succeeded: The bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration included redefinitions that would place FedEx under the NLRA. FedEx, together with a Washington Times editorial earlier this week reporting on this scuffle, blames House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn.”
Game on …
“The Holland & Knight Committee for Effective Government, the lobbying firm's political action committee, had already given Oberstar $3,000 by the time UPS hired them. Subsequently, the firm's PAC--or, excuse me, its Committee for Effective Government--gave Oberstar $5,000 more in contributions, making Oberstar the No. 3 House recipient of Effective Government cash in the 2008 election. Including contributions from Holland & Knight attorneys, the firm was Oberstar's No. 5 donor last election.”
“FedEx, however, has a much bigger lobby than UPS. While UPS spent around $5 million on lobbying in the past year, FedEx spent nearly twice that much.”
“Both sides, of course, are engaging in Beltway knife-fighting, which requires campaign cash. On top of their five-figures-per-day lobbying budgets are the companies' PACs. FedEx PAC spent $3.4 million last cycle, and $231,000 so far this cycle. UPS's PAC shelled out $4.7 million last election, and an impressive $522,000 so far this time around.”
“UPS has a key ally: the Teamsters Union, which gave $2.4 million to Democrats in the last cycle. Teamsters want to unionize FedEx, and Oberstar's provision will make that much easier if it becomes law.”
Truth-be-told, the legislators are the recipients of this campaign cash are happy as pigs feeding in an endless trough. Especially when they know that they can gin-up additional controversy and campaign cash simply by proposing draconian restrictions on industry. Like night following the day, the lobbyists will respond with their brown envelopes bearing campaign cash. All legal. All proper. And most of it documented in plain site for everyone to see. The question is: how does this benefit the consumer?????
View the video that explains it all ….
Bottom line …
Never before have we faced such a corrupt one-party-rule Congress – with each member proposing legislation in order to further shake down the corporate and institutional lobbyists for large sums of money. Not that this practice is not found on both sides of the aisle, it is.
But it should be noted that it is the unions’ special influence over democrats that is the issue. In many cases extending far beyond the commercial realm into the public sector where union activities over the past few decades have created an untenable situation that threatens to bankrupt most of our municipalities, counties and states.
Please join with me and restore constitutional checks and balances in Congress. Help dilute the influence of the toxic labor unions and get this economy back on track.
It is time you stand up for what is good and right about American and help start the process of eliminating corruption, incompetence and malfeasance from the current one-party rule system.
Reference Links …
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS