Wednesday, June 29, 2005

National Restaurant Association comes out for Social Security Phase Out

Dave Johnson Seeing the Forest reports on the lobbying groups coming out for
"...no payroll tax increases; solvency for the program to provide a government safety net for all retirees; and, an opportunity for workers to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in voluntary individually-owned and directed personal retirement accounts that can be used to enhance benefits."
This action is supported by other lobbyists:
"Miller was joined by 16 other chairmen or high-ranking members of boards of directors representing some of the largest and most influential trade groups in Washington, including: National Mining Association; American Chemistry Council; Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.; American Bankers Association; Aluminum Association Board; Financial Services Forum; Securities Industry Association; Grocery Manufacturers of America; Business Roundtable; Bond Market Association; American Forest and Paper Association; Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc.; American Insurance Association; Edison Electric Institute; and National Retail Federation. For more information about the Association's position on Social Security reform or its other pro-employee/pro-employer public policy issues, visit Restaurant.org.
Dave points out that this is a result of the Republican's K-Street Project, in which Republican political leaders (especially Tom DeLay) have moved Republican activists from their staffs into lucrative lobbying jobs.

Once there, the activists who owe their jobs and paychecks to the Republican politicians have become an activist arm of the Republican Party rather than representatives of the business organizations that pay their bills. When the Republican Party leaders need an organization or activity funded they call the lobbyists.The lobbyists then call the companies they lobby for and tell them where to send donations. This is called "buying access." When a company wants some legislation passed, killed or modified, they call the lobbyist. The lobbyist then gets them an appointment with the appropriate Congressional leader. The leader knows who arranged the appointment, so he knows this is one of his supporters.

While there is no formal quid pro quo normally (what was Randy "Duke" Cunningham Thinking?) the money has bought a rewrite of the legislation. Unless, of course, you are an Alabama Coushatta Indian and the lobbyist was Jack Abramoff. Since the system works on trust instead of careful quid pro quo, that trust is easy to abuse. [Apparently Abramoff had financial difficulties funding his many charities and abused the trust he had built up.]

People and groups who defend Social Security are up against this well-funded tightly-controlled and highly ideological machine. While you are here, click through to Americans United to Protect Social Security, the umbrella group defending Social Security, and kick in a few dollars.

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