What Is A Special Interest Group?

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) may be good or may be bad.

That, of course, would depend upon a particular SIG promoting what you believe in and support, or (more coarsely) your agenda—or not.

According to Wikipedia: “An interest group (also advocacy group, lobby group, pressure group or special interest group) is an organization that seeks to influence political decisions.”

And from Brittanica Concise Encyclopedia: “Any association of individuals or organizations, usually formally organized, that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, attempts to influence public policy in its favour.”

The question, then, is this:

Are not both branches of Congress Special Interest Groups?

Did not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on Dec 19, 2009, admit to such things as: “You will find a number of states are treated differently than other states. That’s what legislation is all about. It’s compromise.”

To be clear, Reid, in closed sessions, offered Senators from a few states (who were not going to vote for the Senate’s version of healthcare reform) additional benefits, tacked on to the already massive bill, in order to secure their votes and reach that high and mighty number 60.

Would the actions of Senator Reid not qualify as “special interest?”

Would not the billions and billions of dollars of earmarks added on to various pieces of legislation that have passed through Congress and the White House (from both parties) be considered as the work of a SIG, or even a group of SIGs working together?

Granted, certain (probably many) pieces of pork may have been the work of an outside SIG (i.e., association SIG, labor union SIG, business SIG, etc.) over the years, but the work done on Capitol Hill with healthcare reform, was really the work of the Congressional SIG.

Thus, when politicians (or anyone for that matter) complain about SIGs and the influence they may wield upon the political and legislative process, and how it may threaten our Freedom and Liberty, it seems that Main Street USA only has to look (if that were literally possible) at what goes on “behind closed doors” to find the truth.

Food For Thought.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The Economy And Healthcare

I am not quite sure why passing and implementing a one trillion dollar-plus healthcare reform package is necessary for our nation’s economic recovery as healthcare was NOT what brought the economy down.

Healthcare, as pointed out by President Obama, is 17.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Everything I examine regarding the GDP and what makes up the GDP combine healthcare and social assistance, so that statement is a little misleading – and incorrect.

Let us take a glimpse of the GDP.

The US Department of Labor pegged the US GPD just under $14.2 Trillion for 2008.

In reviewing the DOL spreadsheet the sector that makes up the largest percentage of GDP is real estate (including sales, rental, leasing) at $1.783 Trillion, just over 12.5%. Running a close second is, you guessed it, government at $1.741 Trillion, which would qualify for the definition of “big government,” the kind Patrick Henry warned us about. Manufacturing comes in third place at $1.638 Trillion.

The figure for healthcare and social assistance is just over one trillion dollars, making it about 7% of GDP (not 17.6%), coming is just behind Professional and Technical Services and Finance and Insurance.

Perhaps President Obama’s advisors lumped some of the insurance sector into their healthcare equation to come up with 17.6%, but even if you added ALL finance and insurance to healthcare and social assistance it still falls short of that 17.6% figure.

That 17.6% needs to be clarified as right now it appears to be extremely misleading to Main Street USA. And, as many people know, you can make statistics say anything you want if you work at it hard enough.

Also, as most people are aware, debt is not calculated (or even considered) in the GDP figure and, as government spending and indebtedness is very much part of this healthcare reform, adding potentially hundreds of billions annually would definitely increase the GDP and debt concurrently.

But that makes it an extreme tradeoff for, at this point, with every dollar of government healthcare expense that gets counted in the GDP more than likely another dollar would be added to the national debt.

If, as the president says, “the stars truly are aligned” to pass healthcare reform this year, why is there such tremendous debate on the plan? To me, when the stars are aligned that means everything is picture perfect and it is smooth sailing.

This monstrous financial albatross being presented, containing earmarks and pork rind, is not what Main Street USA needs at present.

And President Obama keeps pointing out that people will support it when they compare it with the “cost of doing nothing.”

I, for one, am not emphatically stating that we should do absolutely nothing.

I am saying that it needs to be reasonable.

One trillion dollars (of debt) is NOT a reasonable cost. And that figure only works if President Obama’s goals are met, which, right now, are anything but aligned with reality. The proposal needs to be based on sound fiscal budgeting and expectations, not just goals that would be nice to meet.

Why cannot the House and Senate propose something straightforward with no excess baggage that produces a product at a reasonable cost?

Because politics is all about scratching backs.

This senator needs a few billion the next couple of years and he will support the bill. Add that in and claim it will reduce obesity. And that senator needs money so add something for his parks and recreation departments to further physical education. And on and on.

As I write this I wonder which is worse; the special interest and lobbying groups that spend billions of dollars annually to influence legislation and spending or the special interests of our own elected officials with their unquenchable need for pork (all of which, of course, is for the good of their constituents).

Over For Now,

Main Street One