Saturday, January 19, 2013

Whose Government is it?

The 113th Congress of the United States has convened and the president will be sworn in for his second term on January 21. The stage is set for what is expected to be epic battles of political ideology over spending, taxes, debt, gun control, and a myriad of other issues. Two lobbying organizations, that deal with very different issues, illustrate the dynamic of the battles to come.

The ladies above are representative of the AARP, an organization comprising more than 37 million members that lobbies on behalf of America's older citizens. Protecting Social Security and Medicare are big issues on their agenda. They have enjoyed some success, but both of their flagship issues are on the table for coming budget discussions and both undoubtedly will see cuts. While they have a substantial membership, their funding comes primarily from that membership and leaves little room for actively supporting candidates. Further, two Republicans have introduced legislation to strip the AARP of their tax-exempt status, which would further restrict their activities.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) on the other hand has fewer than 4 million members, but the majority of their funding comes from the arms industry. They have large amounts of money to support candidates and have been very successful in protecting the interests of their sponsors.

Just whose government is it?


  1. Maybe my image of the US is too deeply rooted in watching "Wagon Train" and "Bonanza" on TV in my childhood, but I understand that the guys with the guns usually win.

  2. Great little nugget, Jim! Have any of you put any thought into the common interests, goals, and thought processes of the NRA and the KKK?

  3. The government belongs to those with the most money. Sad.

  4. Sadly, I suspect you know the answer to the question you pose. And sadly the answer would be just the same over this side of the pond. But knowing the answer now is no reason for campaigning and fighting for a different answer in the future. Good for you, and power to your elbow.

  5. Good points, Jim. Some campaign reform laws would be a start.