A Uniquely American Problem

Once a government program is established to provide benefits to a prescribed group, there is soon to follow a movement to expand the definition of that group to include more people (voters).  Lobbyists will form to expand the new institutionalized benefits.  A portion of the benefits will be drained to the administration and their proxies.

Every expansion of the benefit happens with quiet approval; every attempt to reverse or curtail them is met with outrage.

The growth of the administrative state is further advanced by the principle of dispersed costs and focused benefits.  It pays to spend millions on lobbying because the benefit to the client is enormous, but it does not pay to spend much to stop them because the marginal cost per taxpayer is minimal.  The accumulation of these accommodations is substantial, especially when you include the administrative markup and the ultimate cost to consumers.

Our government was set up to run in a decentralized manner and the growing centralization bring us into a conflict between a desire for centralized solutions and a decentralized structure. This is the inherent problem of American progressivism.

Lobbying seems to be a uniquely American problem.  Our progressive experiment sought to neuter the influence of large commercial interests, but it seems we only institutionalized and registered them. The corrupting influence remains.

The preferred solution is a simplified government that relies less on social engineering.  Lobbyists exist due to complexities and preferences.  You can measure the problem by the spread between the statutory tax rate and the actual tax rate paid.  The difference is the benefit bestowed on special interests by the government.

The more complex the laws and regulations the greater the influence of lobbyists and proxies.  We will not likely eliminate the influence of money in politics, but we should at least try to make the opportunity for government influence less attractive than serving consumers and their marketplace.


Category: Politics, Progressivism

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