Tuesday, 19 February 2013

And so it Spins

by Eyrie Clark

revolving door, politicians, lobbyists, corporations
Thanks to Matt Wuerker and the Cartoonist Group.
   When talking about politics, politicians, and especially political corruption, you often hear the term 'Revolving Door' come up. 'They are just a part of the revolving door,' or 'It's all just one big revolving door'. But what does that even mean?

   Well, I ask you to look to the illustration to your right in this article and skim through it. It is a vast simplification of the process, but nonetheless, it is still incredibly accurate. In this article, we will be picking through the picture, as well as examining a few politicians as examples.

   But first, like I started this article: what is the 'Revolving door'? Basically, the theory of it is that business men who decide they are not making enough money go into politics. You will notice step one; 'Take a bunch of corporate cash. Buy a seat in congress!' This step is accurate because, time and time again, it has been shown that the campaigns that spend tons of money tend to win elections. Think of how Mitt Romney won the Republican Nomination. Not because he was better policy-wise than anyone else, but he was better-funded. But why? Politicians may be paid an OK amount if you were an average citizen, but it comes with the extra cost of having to maintain two residences: one in the nation's capital, and one somewhere in their constituency.

 It's quite obvious, when you apply some logic to it. They enter into politics and they don't serve the people like they swear to; they represent the corporations they worked at. They write laws and bills in favour of those corporations, and receive huge payout by them that are labelled as 'Campaign Donations' as step two of the illustration shows. As an example, the illustration mentions 'Big Pharma'. 'Big Pharma' is a nickname given to the pharmaceutical industry. Basically, they benefited greatly from Obamacare being passed in the USA, because one of the acts of Obamacare was that the USA would stop importing pharmaceuticals from Canada that would undercut the prices of American drug companies. In other words, they are basically handing them millions upon millions of dollars by giving the major drug companies a monopoly over the market in the US, giving the average consumer nowhere else to go to get what they need to keep themselves healthy and basically forcing them to buy from these large corporations, who can set the price as high as they want, because after all, who's going to be competing with them?

   And then, the third step: 'Leave seat in congress for seat on corporate board. Make millions!' This illustrates the fact that, after many of these 'Corporate Kiss-ups' are done in government, they leave the revolving door and join a corporate board to lobby for whatever industry they were helping in their time in government.

   And why does this work so well for the corporations? Well, the new lobbyists, who are former politicians,  go to their former colleagues and say 'Hey, dude! Don't you remember me? I used to work just two offices down the hall! Come on man, don't regulate my company.' And most of the time, they don't. But more importantly, they also serve as an example. They are basically living proof to the politicians that if you do what the corporations say and 'play ball', they'll make you very rich.

  This is increasingly obvious in the US. I keep going back to them because it's easy to understand and everybody hears about the news in america quite often. For instance  Linda Fisher, congresswoman, moved from congress to become rich lobbying for Pesticides and Biotech. Phillip Perry, former member of Homeland Security, became a lobbyist. Congressman Dick Gephardt left his congressional seat to start his own lobbying firm, and in just one year made anywhere from 7-10 million dollars lobbying for defense contractors.

   But, to be fair, it's not just the US. The revolving door has been seen spinning in a number of different countries, including the UK. Awareness of this started when a popular British television drama had aired episodes which involved sitting members of parliament and ministers offering their services to corporations. .

  Nonetheless, this system has been going on forever, and as long as the money keeps flowing, the revolving door will keep spinning.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article! I knew about this concept but not the exact term...where have you read that it might be worse in the UK? Could you possibly comment below with a link to the article or whatever which informed you that it's worse in the UK? Thanks


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