Life, Liberty, and….. Lobbyists?

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2015


While the Republicans and the Democrats and the Libertarians (do they have a candidate yet?) are parading back and forth telling us what wrong with Washington and how they’re going to fix it, they’re all ignoring the elephant in the room.
In this case, the obvious problem in Washington D.C. that none of the corrupt politicians want to discuss is the number of lobbyists plying their trade inside the beltway.
A lobbyist represents some special interest group and persuades various congressional representatives and senators that if a particular vote were to go one way or another that would be good for the American people.
But in fact, many times those swing votes affect Americans negatively.
Take minivans, for instance.  Did you ever wonder why Japanese minivans were so much more affordable that minivans made in America?  It’s because when the Japanese wanted to sell minivans in the United States they paid a lobbyist to convince congress that Japanese minivans should be classified as ‘trucks’ and not as ‘passenger cars.’
In the United States at that time, trucks had lower safety requirements than passenger cars and were cheaper to build.  That made them cheaper to sell and the Japanese dominated the minivan market for several years.
Look at Warren Buffett.  He owns a company that owns a company that owns a railroad that transports the vast majority of Alaskan oil to the lower forty-eight states.  This costs the oil companies, and ultimately the consumer, about thirty dollars a barrel.  Buffet’s profits on this deal are close to two billion dollars a year.
The Keystone pipeline, on the other hand, when completed would transport that oil for ten dollars a barrel.  The pipeline would also create jobs in a job hungry market.
So, since it makes so much sense to build the pipeline, why isn’t it being built?  Because Mr. Buffet has two friends in Washington D.C.: President Obama and Hillary Clinton.  Both of whom have spoken out in strong opposition for the pipeline.
But enough about frivolous issues such as American Jobs and Higher Cost of Consumer Goods, let’s talk about Daylight Savings Time.  Isn’t it ironic that this year we turned out clocks back on the same night that all the other booger monsters were supposed to come out?
Don’t get me wrong I enjoy summer evenings.  I like leaning on the backyard fence, watching the horses graze while drinking an ice cold beer.
My argument is that the day will cool, the bull bats will fly, the chimney sweeps will dart about, the horses will graze contentedly, and that beer will be just as cold even if our clocks don’t spring forward in the early part of April.  I promise.
Used to, we set our clocks forward in late April, but an enterprising charcoal briquette salesman lobbied congress to move the change up to early April and back to Late October.  I have no doubt that some coffee salesman was working just as hard on the same objective.
Despite the fact that we don’t need it and it really has no monetary cost, we still change our clocks twice a year, ruining sleep patterns, cutting into worker efficiency, and generally recovering from the trauma of the last time change just in time for the next time change.
So keep in mind that the real evil in Washington D.C. is not really the politicians, it’s the lobbyists that sit around with nothing to do waiting to pitch their ideas to some politician.
As my grandmother would say, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”