The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Those of us who had the benefit of learning grammar as part of our elementary school curriculum may remember that words which modify nouns are known as adjectives.  An example would be “Fearless Leader” – as it was used by Jay Ward in “Rocky and Bullwinkle” – perhaps the most creative cartoon series of all time.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in journalism.  I’m not sure if this is an intentional attempt to introduce yet another classification into our grammar, but it seems that certain nouns almost always are preceded by the same adjective – as though the two are inseparable.  I refer to this new entry into the English language as an adje-noun.  The most apparent example to me is the “POWERFUL NRA”.

Being powerful means that someone or something has a great deal of inherent strength and exerts that power to achieve its ends.  In the world of politics, at least in the United States, that usually takes the form of lobbying our elected representatives to influence them to vote for those laws which will benefit a company or an association.  A great deal of money is spent by respective organizations to accomplish that mission.

As I have heard so much since the Newtown tragedy about the Powerful NRA’s gun lobby, I thought I would take a look at how powerful that organization actually is, how much they spend on their lobbying efforts and to compare that to other industries and groups which also engage in lobbying activities.

What follows is a list of lobbyists by industry for the calendar year 2012, compiled by OpenSecrets.org:

Opensecretsindustry groups

The original link to this chart may be found at https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2012&indexType=i

If you go to the source and want to review this information, clicking on each industry brings up the companies and organizations which are included in the compilation.  Incidentally, this data is available going back to 1998 and although there is some slight variation on who spends the most money on a year to year basis, the same industries consistently appear at the top of the list.

If you spend a few minutes with this chart, perhaps you will see the same thing that I noticed.  There are four industries, Pharmaceuticals/Health Products; Hospitals/Nursing Homes; Health Professionals; and Health Services/HMO’s which aggregately spent $359 Million in 2012 to advance their agendas.

In addition, if you look at the detail under Insurance, the top two lobbyists in that category were Blue Cross/Blue Shield and America’s Health Insurance Plans which paid an additional $17 Million to lobbyists.  That comes to a total of $376 Million spent in one year by businesses and professionals in the Health Care Industry.

I returned to the OpenSecrets.org website to try to put the powerful NRA’s lobbying efforts in perspective.  Here is the link to that information:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000082

By comparison, the powerful NRA spent only $2.2 Million last year in their lobbying efforts.  That’s five percent of what the defense and aerospace industry spent and five percent of what the auto industry spent; that’s four percent of what unions representing government workers spent; that’s three percent of what unions and others involved in education spent; that’s two and one half percent the amount that the entertainment industry spent; and that’s just over one half percent the amount that people involved in healthcare paid their lobbyists.

I have yet to hear the argument that gun owners are the cause of our anemic economy, our spiraling deficits, our unacceptable rates of unemployment or the out of control costs associated with healthcare, although it is not hard for me to believe that those in Washington who are, apparently oblivious to the facts, might try to advance that case.

Despite the recent comment by President Obama that “we do not have a spending problem,” most people with the smallest grip on reality realize that statement is exactly the reason that we have many of our problems – and at the heart of it is our healthcare system.

Is it mere co-incidence that the industry which is most greatly benefited by our excesses is the largest single contributor to lobbying efforts to maintain their place at the top of the food chain?

Is one of the causes for the murders we commit the fact that more and more Americans are feeling helpless and bereft of hope and turn to irrational, violent acts out of despair?  Or is it the intransigent Powerful NRA which is at fault?

So in America, who’s got the power?  I think the numbers speak for themselves.

Advertisements

Comments on: "WHO’S GOT THE POWER? (PART ONE)" (17)

  1. Not to quarrel with your research, because it is correct, the NRA is powerful, not because of its money, of which you demonstrate it has little but, because it’s members, each and every one of us pay attention and act quickly and decisively. A classic grass roots organization, which we would do well to copy in other areas as we attempt to reform our country.

  2. O love the stats, which of course are always open to misinterpretation.The NRA has a single agenda. The pharmaceutical industry agenda supports several companies and products, so there is a small difference. Your point is good, though. They aren’t THAT powerful and they make good use of unpaid supporters. Also, lobbying is big business…..

    • Thank you for taking your time to read this post and more especially to express your view. I appreciate both of those. I don’t recall seeing you here before, so if that is my oversight, my apologies. If you are new then welcome.

      I am not acting as an apologist for the NRA. I am acting as an apologist for what I believe is truth – and while that may be debated on a philosophical level (to no meaningful conclusion), there are certain things, thankfully, that can be viewed from the standpoint of mathematics.

      The country is rightfully upset by Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT. They were unspeakable crimes. Those who carried out their mission may or may not have been insane and it is undeniable that they used firearms to accomplish their goals. Any rational person, whether or not an NRA member, would have to acknowledge that as truth.

      In previous posts I’ve addressed the “big business of big Pharma”. Prescription costs are one of the major components of our escalating health care deficit. I suspect that if you were to conduct a survey and ask, “Are taking medically prescribed drugs a good thing?,” you would get an overwhelmingly positive response.

      The following link (I’m sorry that this is the most recent data I could find) is from the CDC and records 11,078 deaths due to homicide by guns.

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

      That statistic reports that 68.1% of all homicides are due to guns and the balance to all other causes. As you said in your comment, stastics are open to interpretation and mis-interpretation.

      But if I were to tell you that no less revered a publication than the “Journal of the American Medical Association”, as early as 2001 said that, “Prescription drugs when properly prescribed for a correctly diagnosed condition; properly dispensed by a pharmacist; properly taken by the patient and with no inter-action from other drugs, accounts for at least 200,000 deaths per year in the United States,” you might well be surprised – and concerned.

      Part of the Hippocratic oath is that a physician “do no harm”. In light of the statistics, we might all question how much attention is being paid to that directive. And we might also question the integrity of those who lobby on behalf of the industry.

  3. It is obviously crucial to evaluate priorities, especially as regards spending! Welldone.

  4. […] via WHO’S GOT THE POWER? (PART ONE) « juwannadoright. […]

  5. Damn! If you’re going to keep supporting your opinions with damn FACTS, I’m not going to play! It’s about FEELINGS, got that? You need to read the New York Times!

    (Handy data, thanks!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: