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!
Not all of this is necessarily nefarious; there is a reasonable and useful role for lobbyists. One of the prime roles of our government is to create regulations that control various industries. It’s only proper for those industries to seek input into the drafting of these regulations, as bureaucrats may not fully understand the industries they seek to regulate. There should be input from business into the process.
But this advisory role for lobbyists has morphed into a situation where the lobbyists are actually in control of the lawmaking process. No longer content with commenting on legislation, lobbyists are now the ones who actually write the laws passed by Congress. Not only do they control the legislative process, but they provide the funds that enable the elected lawmakers to return to office. It’s no surprise that, once elected, lawmakers keep getting elected, as, having invested in them, the status quo wants them back in. Once a congressman is paid for, his backers make sure he gets re-elected.
Joe Biden has been riding this gravy train for 47 years.
But it’s not just the lobbyists and companies that want the status quo. Perhaps the most pernicious influence is the revolving door connecting Congress, government, and industries. A relatively low-paid government apparatchik can jump to a lucrative lobbying position at five times his salary. An elected official turned lobbyist can easily command a seven-figure income. Senior bureaucrats can get huge payouts for obtaining lucrative government contracts, like FBI director James Comey, who made six million dollars in his last year at Lockheed Martin.
Major corporations have billions tied up in lobbying efforts, which in turn affects trillions in income. It’s reasonable to assume that they want some kind of return on their investment. Congressmen also like the status quo as it provides the funds to keep them in office. Washington bureaucrats like it, too, because that’s the pot of gold they seek to cash in on after years of government service.
What these powerful lobbyists, congressmen, and bureaucrats do not want is an outsider like Donald J. Trump parachuting in and disrupting the whole cozy relationship. Why spend millions and billions of dollars on lobbying if some shoot-from-the-hip self-proclaimed populist thinks he has a better idea?
Trump looks at these interconnected relationships and asks inconvenient questions, like how all this affects the average American. No one is supposed to be thinking that way.
Trump doesn’t play the game. Biden is the ultimate player. Seen that way, the choice is obvious.
Given Biden’s commitment to the status quo, it becomes clear why these powerful forces are more than willing to overlook his obvious shortcomings. One would think having Hunter Biden taking millions in apparent bribes from China, Ukraine, and Russia would immediately disqualify Biden for any higher elected office. But rather than investigate these obviously sleazy dealings, the corporate media did their best to cover them up.
In fact, in this light, Biden’s weaknesses can be seen as strengths. The more his mental health deteriorates, the easier it is to control him. Ditto for his sleazy foreign entanglements, which simultaneously show that (1) he knows how to play the game and (2) he can be compromised. Kamala Harris is an ideal nonentity as a V.P., utterly without executive or foreign policy experience, and so the perfect puppet for lobbyists and swamp-dwellers.
So let’s recap: these powerful companies don’t want a level playing field; they want the advantages they paid good money for. They don’t want fewer regulations because they wrote the regulations themselves! And the weaker the executive, the better they can control him.
When Trump says he want to drain the swamp, what he’s really saying is that he will take millions of hard-earned lobbying dollars out of the pockets of major corporations that are expecting billions of dollars of influence in return. These companies have spent decades building up this influence, and voting for Trump will negate all that.
No wonder they will stop at nothing to take Trump down.