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Following Tech's Money Trail In Washington

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the can't-beat-em-seek-rent-through-'em dept.

Businesses 61

snydeq writes "Having outlayed $111 million to gain political influence in 2009, the tech industry is clearly learning how to play the lobbying game, writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. And while longtime lobbying stalwart General Motors nearly outspent the tech industry on its own, the rise of lobbying among tech giants, especially those under antitrust scrutiny, is staggering. Google, which has been drawing interest from the feds over its online advertising business, has increased its efforts twelve-fold in the past four years. And while Google frames its sudden increased interest in Washington as a matter of growth inspiring greater civic responsibility, the company may find itself sucked further into Washington, now that it is party to an international spat involving both the US and Chinese governments. Among those that top the list of tech lobbyists, Oracle, Intel, and Microsoft all have come under scrutiny in the past year, with Intel accused of monopolistic practices and Oracle requiring sign off on its merger with Sun."

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Just what we need in DC... (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026502)

...more influence bought by money.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026550)

...more influence bought by money.

Hey, it's okay when it's 'our guys' doing it. :\

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027434)

From a memetic analysis point of view, the purpose of the regulations is to engender kickbacks, legal or otherwise, to prevent the officials from getting in the way of things.

In other words, "follow the money" doesn't end looking at corporations and their donations to senators. You must also look at the effects the laws passed actually have, when nobody contributes. Who benefits then? 99% of the time, nothing is seriously broken.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027524)

Hmm. I think we need to work for a constitutional amendment, to basically say a corporation is NOT a person with 'speech rights'. I'm ok with incorporating for liability protection (without it that, small businesses would be in tough water in this litiginous society).

But we need something to take our government back for the normal people, put OUR interests in general first. I don't know how to word it...but something to limit lobbyists and their interaction with politicos. How about all meetings have to be public, and either broadcast or transcripts of everything said between the parties is open to public scrutiny and record?

How about also amendments saying that federal political campaigns can ONLY be funded publicly. Mandate free air time over the public airwaves for debates and speeches. Maybe ever go so far as to mandate that senators are no longer elected by general public elections and go back to having them appointed by their respective state legislatures?

We gotta do something to take our country's political system back from the highest bidder, and back to being answerable to the people.

Then again...I'd like a pony too...

Re:Just what we need in DC... (2, Insightful)

youngone (975102) | more than 4 years ago | (#31028242)

I think that US citizens need to get used to the fact that they don't live in a democracy. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy [wikipedia.org] or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy [wikipedia.org] We could argue aboiut which form of government you really have, but it ain't democracy.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (3, Informative)

thomst (1640045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029146)

I think we need to work for a constitutional amendment, to basically say a corporation is NOT a person with 'speech rights'.

Good luck with that.

I think we need a number of other constitutional amendments, too, including one specifically guaranteeing a right to individual privacy - but I'm not holding my breath, because, according to Article 5, there are two and only two mechanisms in the U.S. constitution for amending same:

1. Congress (both houses) must pass a proposed amendment by a 2/3 majority, and that amendment must then be ratified by 3/4 of the individual state legislatures or state constitutional conventions, or

2. On petition by 2/3 of the states' legislatures, a national constitutional convention can be convened for the purpose of proposing amendments, which then must be ratified as above.

Note that Congress - which is the body the amendment you're proposing to regulate thereby - is unlikely in extremis to pass such an amendment even by majority vote, much less by a supermajority, and that a constitutional convention isn't going to happen, either.

Thomas Jefferson opined, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants." I'd say that nowadays the blood of lobbyists and machine politicians would make a good substitute "natural manure."

Trust me, your mileage won't vary.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029320)

They are not "our guys", they are never "our guys" unless "we" own lots of stocks in that company. Even then, as citizens, they are not "our guys".

Just because it is IT, doesn't mean that it is good. Corporations are corporations, and corporations are one of the worse inventions (for the health and well being of the common person) in the history of economics. Don't trust them, no matter what they say. Just like you can tell if a politician is lying (they are communicating), so too can you tell if a corporate officer (from the CEO down, including boards etc.) is lying. If a corporation promises to be good, they are lying. If they say it is all about the people, they are lying. If they mention civic responsibility, they are lying.

Don't trust them. (Don't trust the government either. Those in power will fuck up those who aren't in power without a second thought. The only "change" in the White House is that the president has darker skin than previous presidents, and is from a different party compared to the previous president. The president is still support the capitalist system all the way.)

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029926)

"Hey, it's okay when it's 'our guys' doing it."

Yes it is. It's the only way to win, so do it better than the enemy, end of story.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31034836)

The world isn't a zero sum game. Everyone can win.

The corruption is scary. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31026908)

The U.S. government is very corrupt. The government is not about what's sensible, but about who has the most money.

The U.S. government has killed or caused the death of more than 11 million people since the end of the 2nd world war. All of that killing was apparently for money.

The U.S. government has 6 times the percentage of its citizens in prison of any other country in the history of the world.

The U.S. government consistently spends money it doesn't have, and is has more debt per citizen than any country in the history of the world.

Re:The corruption is scary. (4, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027088)

The U.S. government consistently spends money it doesn't have, and is has more debt per citizen than any country in the history of the world.

Wrong. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The corruption is scary. (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027288)

Hey, if I worked for a year, I could pay off my share of the national debt, and still have enough to pay my rent.

I'd die of starvation, likely, but hey, at least I did my civic duty, and didn't drain the pension fund.

Re:The corruption is scary. (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 4 years ago | (#31028216)

The point that you are missing is, and economists will be the first to point this out, is that the national debt isn't really that high when you consider that a 10% tax for roughly 5 years would pay off our entire national debt. Now 10% is a lot on top of what we already pay, but there are ways to get out of debt fast, and as a country we could do it. The problem with national debt is when you start to reach the point where it's double or triple your gdp.

Re:The corruption is scary. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31028376)

Or, in the case of Ireland and Iceland, ten times gdp.

Re:The corruption is scary. (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027922)

It's looking to me like Monaco wins the per-capita award, with Ireland a close second. I envy China's per-capita debt... but I don't think I envy the plight of the typical Chinese citizen. India is lower than China, interestingly.

Nice to know our debt as % of GDP isn't as bad as a lot of other countries, too, I guess.

But it'd still be nice to not have such striking budget deficits. Not just deficits, but PLANNING to increase it. That seems ridiculous to me. I understand if "things happen" and we end up increasing it, but planning a deficit is ... eh.

Re:The corruption is scary. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31028206)

The wiki data is ~7-8 months old, and we have generated a fair amount of external debt in that time. As an example, our debt is now greater than the GDP, whereas in the chart it is shown as 95% of GDP. We're moving up the list!

Also, although the external debt is the most worrisome from a number of perspectives, the internal debt is also significant and not included on the wiki page.

In addition to all that, there have been a number of write-downs of debt in the past two years where large sums of money just vanished off the books of corporations, banks, and government-controlled agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If properly accounted for, that could add trillions to the debt load, some of which is internal, and some of which is external.

The wiki page is therefore probably incomplete, even if it is an accurate snapshot at the times the data entries were made.

Re:The corruption is scary. (3, Informative)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027118)

The U.S. government has 6 times the percentage of its citizens in prison of any other country in the history of the world.

Well, Most other oppressive governments just kill their opposition.

Re:The corruption is scary. (2, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027128)

The U.S. government is very corrupt. The government is not about what's sensible, but about who has the most money.

You're not honestly trying to imply that the US is unique in that regard.

The U.S. government has killed or caused the death of more than 11 million people since the end of the 2nd world war. All of that killing was apparently for money.

You're a plant by the government to make those of us who don't trust the government look dumber and more paranoid, aren't you?

The U.S. government has 6 times the percentage of its citizens in prison of any other country in the history of the world.

The politicians are following the citizens on that one. Locking everyone up for minor, non-violent offences is so inefficient, it offends even the most bureaucratic public servants, there are other, cheaper and easier ways of making the uninformed public think you're doing the job you said you would than actually getting "tougher on crime." If you say you're going to get tougher on crime, lock up more people, and build more jails, you're going to eventually piss off your own base because you've spent too much money on it and have to raise taxes.

But now it's become entrenched, if you say to the public "Hey, we really don't need to lock all these people up, this guy stole a blanket and can't pay bail, who cares if he never shows up to court, it's costing us about a thousand dollars a week in taxpayer money to keep him in jail, over a matter of 10 bucks, it's just stupid," then you'll be labeled soft on crime by your opponents, and get thrown out next election.

(not to make you feel sorry for the pols, just saying this isn't the government's choice.)

There is hardly any corruption at all, moron. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31028972)

haha, are you stupid? or do you just listen to pundits for all you information? of course, In repeat myself.

The US Government has very little corruption. It's there, but it i frowned upon, people loose their careers over it and it's a huge scandal. But compared to most other countries? we're fucking saints.
try actually doing business in other countries.

"The U.S. government has killed or caused the death of more than 11 million people since the end of the 2nd world war. All of that killing was apparently for money. "
WTF is that about?

"The U.S. government has 6 times the percentage of its citizens in prison of any other country in the history of the world. "
Wrong; however we do have too many people in prison.

"The U.S. government consistently spends money it doesn't have"
not strictly true.

"...and is has more debt per citizen than any country in the history of the world."
and that's factually wrong.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (4, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027134)

I'm assuming that you're advocating stricter rules on campaigning, more restrictions on speech and donating, etc.

That's going after the symptom, not the cause. The cause is that government has too much power. As we descend into banana-republicanism, everybody with any interests has to play this defensive game. Because at any moment, they could find themselves a political target.

Restrict government to its constitutional duties, and suddenly these corporations have no reason to care what's going on in DC.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (3, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027346)

Restrict government to its constitutional duties, and suddenly these corporations have no reason to care what's going on in DC.

And that's where you'd get most of the argument coming from. What would qualify as a constitutional duty? As the world changes, should those duties change as well? Should they be explicitly demarcated, or loosely interpreted?

You've presented what seems like a simple, direct, excellent answer, but it's still as much of a minefield as anything else. But I'm Canadian, what do I care? You guys are just our largest trading partners, so I've no interest in your well-being as a nation. ;)

Re:Just what we need in DC... (2, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31028112)

You guys are just our largest trading partners, so I've no interest in your well-being as a nation.

You do realize that US interests own almost 45% of Canada right? (seriously)

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31030686)

sorry, wrong! Crown Lands [wikipedia.org]

Unless you want to argue that US interests own 45% of the privately held land (45% of 89% is 4.95%)

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31039120)

Notice that I said nothing about land ownership. Try again, maybe this time with some relevant facts..

http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/econ149c-eng.htm

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31041334)

Two thoughts:

1) you said Canada, not Canadian Corporate assets. Your usage would refer to either owning a percentage of the physical territory known as Canada OR possibly the people and government that make up Canada in the abstract.

2) even the official report you linked to does not prove that there is 45% ownership of Canadian business assets by USA companies, it proves that 45% of Canadian business assets are foreign owned, a category which I'm willing to stipulate does include American companies, but I doubt it entirely consists of American companies. Surely some of that number is made up of Japanese, British, German, Russian et all interests. Furthermore, these days, at least some of those American companies which own participation in an Canadian firm may themselves have part of their assets in the hands of foreign interests, muddying the waters considerably.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (4, Informative)

trout007 (975317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029048)

I don't know if you have ever read the US Constitution. The powers of each branch are explicitly demarcated. The meaning of the Constitution should never change. If the people think something is important enough to change we have a way to amend the constitution. If enough people think the government should have a power it doesn't currently have we can easily give them or take away those powers. People actually used to respect it. For instance we had an amendment to prohibit alcohol. We then passed another amendment to repeal that one. But now we let the government prohibit all sorts of things without an expressed authority.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31031840)

Restrict government to its constitutional duties, and suddenly these corporations have no reason to care what's going on in DC.

Great idea, you should float this one with Google. Perhaps they'll 'do no evil' and lobby for this change in DC.

Re:Just what we need in DC... (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31030014)

The only way you'll get rid of that, or at least minimize it, is to restrict the power of government so that it isn't necessary to buy that influence.

MS Lobbyists (4, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026556)

Back in 2007-2008, I was doing lobbying work for an non-profit organization. At one event for a certain congressman from Iowa, I was seated between a lobbyist from Northrop-Grumman and a lobbyist from Microsoft (incidentally, I was across from a sugar industry lobbyist, and ended up getting into a separate argument with him about tariffs on sugar being why we have to use hfcs in soda and whatnot, but that's irrelevant).

During the lunch, I got into a conversation with the MS lobbyist and asked him if he thought it would be worth it to upgrade from XP to Vista on my laptop, to which he replied "do you still have the XP disks that came with the computer?" "No," I said, "I got the laptop as part of the compensation from my last contract and it didn't come with the disks." "Well, then," he replied "I'd just leave well enough alone since you won't be able to go back when things go wrong."

Frankly, it was one of the most sensible things that I'd heard anyone say then entire time I was in D.C.

Re:MS Lobbyists (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026682)

Fact... before the big anti-trust trial against MS in the 90's MS had exactly 0 lobbyists in all of DC. People on Slashdot were so happy when the Gov. went after their favorite target, but in the long run they unleashed a much worse monster. I'd rather have a company that doesn't play nice in the corporate world than a company that doesn't play nice in the corporate world and has its manacles in DC.

Re:MS Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31026758)

But in the 1990s, Microsoft, and the computing industry as a whole, were very, very immature. I mean, Microsoft itself had only been around for a couple of decades at that time. Computers really hadn't been around for much more than 50 years. Even in the comparatively short history of the United States, half a century is a short amount of time.

It takes time for corporations and industries to become large enough that they can start playing with the Big Boys in DC. Most of the established industries, like agriculture, heavy manufacturing and pharmaceuticals had gotten there years ago, but only because they're industries going back to before the founding of the US.

Re:MS Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31026832)

Yes. That's why we've had prescription drugs for the last two hundred years...

Idiot.

Re:MS Lobbyists (1, Offtopic)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026962)

Yes, we have. Only they were generally made in small batches by the local apothecary (pharmacist), from more or less natural ingredients and our ability to treat most of the things we treat today was pretty limited. But, they were drugs and given by prescription, hence prescription drugs.

Re:MS Lobbyists (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31027504)

Sorry, sir, you're the filthy fucking moron here.

Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886.
Eli Lilly and Company was founded in 1876.
Bayer was founded in 1863.
Wyeth was founded in 1860.
Pfizer was founded in 1849.

Some of them were around for over a century before computing even became remotely useful in the US. Hell, they were around for over a century before Microsoft was even founded, let alone became powerful.

Better luck next time, chump. Try doing some research, if you don't already know what you're discussing.

Re:MS Lobbyists (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027760)

Sorry, sir, you're the filthy fucking moron here.

Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886.
Eli Lilly and Company was founded in 1876.
Bayer was founded in 1863.
Wyeth was founded in 1860.
Pfizer was founded in 1849.

Some of them were around for over a century before computing even became remotely useful in the US. Hell, they were around for over a century before Microsoft was even founded, let alone became powerful.

Better luck next time, chump. Try doing some research, if you don't already know what you're discussing.

um.... If you're trying to say big pharma has been around for more then 200 years, You might try naming a company that actually is more then 200 years old. None of your examples refute that claim.

Therefore your claim that the GP is a "filthy fucking moron" While not necessarily inaccurate, Is unsupported by the evidence you cited.

Re:MS Lobbyists (3, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026794)

After the big anti-trust trial, MS was paying $200 million or more per year for lobbyists. Why? Because Washington can't ignore a company with $25 billion in the corporate treasury. If a tree has money, the politicians will shake it hard.

Re:MS Lobbyists (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029018)

If wqashington needed MS, then MS wouldn't need to spend that much on lobbyists.

Re:MS Lobbyists (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029004)

um, HFC is far easier to use, transport, last longer, is easier to cook with.
If the removed the tariff right now, most soda companies would go right on using High Fructose corn syrup. BTW it's no different to your body the sugar.

Did you actually have a point besides making a statement about you ill conceived notion the HFC is some how worse then sugar?

Re:MS Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31030380)

HFC however, is absolutely terrible for the human metabolism. it is harder to digest, harder to breakdown, and doesn't trigger the proper hormones in the stomache. it doesn't send the all full signal to the stomach, leading to calorie over load which is a cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. and newer studies are finding carcinogenic properties.

I really would not be surprised if HFC goes the way of transfat.
alas the only way that is going to happen is gene engineering sugar cane for colder environments or lifting the embargo on cuba.
my money is the super cane.

Messianic? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31026804)

From the Google link above:

Lobbying on behalf of its position doesn't make Google evil. It just means it's a big corporation. But for a company with a messianic belief in its purpose, that's a hard truth to accept.

Whenever I see a person or an organization with a messiah complex or whatever, a belief in what their doing is the right way, I become quite concerned. I really hope that Google questions themselves at all times and considers criticism about what they do.Then again

"He bristled over criticisms of a settlement with publishers and authors: "In reality, nothing in this agreement precludes any other company or organization from pursuing their own similar effort. The agreement limits consumer choice in out-of-print books about as much as it limits consumer choice in unicorns."

Bristles? Not even a "I thought about that and this is why I don't think it's a concern..."

No, he makes a condescending comment. Oh great Brin sala bin, your Word is the Word of God!

So, Google, doing no evil, Hmmmmm?!? I'd like to point out that all of your revenues are from advertising - many of your advertisers are scammers, btw - and that the reason why you can command as much money as you do for your advertisement is by tracking users and their movements. Spying. And as more competitors come into the market, you're going to have to spy more in order to keep up your revenue streams.

You will be evil - you're on your way. Your only hope is to take yourselves private. Yes almighty Brin, you will lose billions of paper wealth doing it, but you will have a less a chance of being evil.

But that won't happen, I can tell you how to get out of your contract and you won't do it because you're a greedy human like them all and I'll keep your soul.

--Satan.

And in other news... (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026868)

The anticipated increase in demand for lobbyists has led to a sharp rise in the NYSE, apparently in response to higher stock prices in the weasel breeding industry. Revised tipping fees at local dumps are also expected to change as the unfilled demand for lobbyists increases "landfill mining" to recover used sanitary products.

Observers say both source streams should be on-line and supplying lobbyists within the year.

s/lobby/brib/ (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31026998)

“lobbying” is nothing else, than a euphemism for bribing. Which would be equal to treason for the politician, if that were not changed trough... you guessed it... bribing.
Which would mean at least a decade of well-deserved prison or death penalty, in most law systems.

Yay. “But it’s just lobbying. It’s normal.”
No, it’s not! Way to twist reality...

Re:s/lobby/brib/ (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027032)

It isn't treason, the US has a very specific definition of treason.
 
But yeah, I agree

Re:s/lobby/brib/ (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027184)

"lobbying" is nothing else, than a euphemism for bribing. Which would be equal to treason for the politician, if that were not changed trough... you guessed it... bribing.
Which would mean at least a decade of well-deserved prison or death penalty, in most law systems.

I morally believe in the justice of a death penalty but trust no government with the authority to actually carry it out. But I would make an exception for this in two cases: bribery and vote tampering. Voting is the holiest of holies in a democratic system and fucking with it should evoke the same short of shuddering horror as incest, pedophilia, and furries. Once people no longer trust the vote the whole system is fucked.

Re:s/lobby/brib/ (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029040)

No. Logging is simply getting in fronmt of a politician to express your view point/Concern.

Lobbying is normal. It's been happening for the entire history of governments.

Some lobbyest and politicians abuse it, yes. Not nearly as many as people no /. Most of which have no or little experience with politics.

Re:s/lobby/brib/ (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31035754)

lobbying is nothing else, than a euphemism for bribing. Which would be equal to treason for the politician, if that were not changed trough... you guessed it... bribing. Which would mean at least a decade of well-deserved prison or death penalty, in most law systems.

I really don't think that any civilised legal system would provide for the death penalty in bribery cases.

Paging Wesley Mouch... Mr. Mouch... (4, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027052)

It doesn't take long for an industry to develop (or simply realize) the reality that it is cheaper to lobby the government to ban your competitors than it is to out-compete them (or become commoditized). Even the good guys have to pay, because even if they are not seeking government protection, their competitors are.

If you allow the government any control over economic activity, for totally virtuous reasons, you'll end up here. Eventually it becomes more profitable to regulate (i.e. to destroy) than to produce. At which time a cultural reboot is necessary.

Re:Paging Wesley Mouch... Mr. Mouch... (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027336)

"If you allow the government any control over economic activity, for totally virtuous reasons, you'll end up here"

The same thing happens without government, cartels, monopolies, and corruption. You're just transfering governing power from one institution to the next, this is what is lost on free market extremists. Everything will not be ok if we just let it be. Human beings are the problem.

Re:Paging Wesley Mouch... Mr. Mouch... (1)

philipgar (595691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31027684)

Except, under a free market, lobbying wouldn't be nearly as beneficial, because the government wouldn't enact laws that would shoot down your competitors. Big business tends to love big government and big regulations. Regulations make it much harder for the little guy to compete. It's why many big companies are behind government actions which would "hurt" their profits (pollution controls etc). Although they increase their costs of doing business, it often makes it much more difficult for someone else to get involved in the market, or keeps them out of it entirely. This means the company can increase the price they charge, more than offsetting the costs of complying with whatever regulations the government made, allowing them to profit the most.

Of course, how it often works is these big companies take it a step further, getting antipollution (or whatever) bills through congress, and then getting special exemptions for themselves that are justified on the grounds of saving 100s of jobs etc. So these companies get the effect of limiting competition without the harm of the measures that were supposed to do something in the first place.

Phil

Re:Paging Wesley Mouch... Mr. Mouch... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029084)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4017147.stm [bbc.co.uk]

(quoted)
Market forces

"Somalia is a pure free market," one diplomat told me.

And the central Bakara market certainly looks to be thriving. Some businesses, such as telecoms, are also doing well, with mobile phone masts and internet cafes among the few new structures in Mogadishu, a city where many buildings still bear the scars of the heavy fighting between rival militias of the early 1990s.

This large pile of notes is worth about $210
But is a pure free market a good thing?

Speaking from a theoretical point of view, some economists might say so, but in the very harsh reality of Mogadishu, it means guns and other military hardware are freely available in a market not far from the city centre.

I was advised that it was too dangerous to visit, as customers were constantly firing the weapons to make sure they work before buying them.

The cost of an AK-47 is the equivalent of a survey of business confidence in more stable countries.

Following the election of a new president in October, the price fell, as people anticipated that militias may soon no longer be able to operate with impunity.

But a month on, with a government still not named, nor a clear plan for how or when President Abdullahi Yusuf and his team will even go to Mogadishu, let alone get anything done, the price of a weapon has been creeping higher.

Re:Paging Wesley Mouch... Mr. Mouch... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31029086)

Under a completely free market, there would be NO competition.

"egulations make it much harder for the little guy to compete."
that';s just a stupid ass blanket statement. If it where true we wouldn't have Google because they wouldn't have been able to navigate through the 'regulations' to become MSs biggest competitor. Of course without regulation,, MS could have just paid the telco to shut them down 10 years ago.

Your post is a straw man in two senses, you set up a false premise to knock it down, and it has no brains.

Re:Paging Wesley Mouch... Mr. Mouch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31027718)

false, the govt protects the basic rights of the republic in this instance. stopping those types of institutions from harming individuals. keynesian fallacy

A view from K Street... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31027062)

I am posting this from my cube that is in a law firm office on K street. I thought all of these PAC meetings were a way for the politicians to get out and meet the people. Let me walk a few blocks over to the Jack Valenti Building (MPAA headquarters) or the AFL-CIO headquarters around the corner and see if they know anything about this lobbying thing.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31027112)

If you voted Republican or Democrat, you are part of the problem. No amount of backpedaling or justification will change that.

General Motors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029286)

Didn't General Motors get a bunch of money from the government and then declare bankruptcy? I guess we know where the money went.

Y!ES! fHp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31029528)

antibacterial soap. Backwards. To the Minutes. If that. 4.1BSD product, AMERICA) is the Fortunately, Linux during which I parts. The cuurent

How about lawmakers only meet four times annually? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31030264)

Give them three weeks to discuss and pass laws, and also limit terms of both the congress and the senate to a total of six years.

Perhaps then they won't have as much time to warm up the graft machine. If you keep changing the lawmakers, lobbyists have to hit a moving target and the "will of the people" has a slightly better chance of competing with the "will of the stockholders".

Google, ebay, amazon, et al, all should . (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31030970)

they all should get tangled with washington i mean. the reason we have been thrown at us so much shit trying to damage and subdue internet in the past few years was that the tech crowd didnt do any lobbying or care for it at all. in the end we had the anti net neutrality attack, then came acta. we still havent thwarted acta.

had they got smart and entered washington before the net neutrality attack, we probably would have proper laws by now, or, at least we wouldnt be on the defense against megacorporations and cartels of the established order in the war for the internet.

Ummm Gov lobbies itself (1)

Wardish (699865) | more than 4 years ago | (#31039956)

As I recall, the US Government owns a chunk of GM.

"And while longtime lobbying stalwart General Motors nearly outspent the tech industry on its own, the rise of lobbying among tech giants"

GM spends in the neighborhood of 100 Million lobbying.

There has to be law/rules/fscking clue about spending money lobbying yourself.

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