DC Intern Diaries

I'm a female 24 year old DC permanent intern. You name it and I've probably interned it. I'm also a graduate student in DC.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Payback on K Street

This is why being a democrat on K Street is such a problem! I'll never
be able to be a lobbyist or make millions on K Street as long as I am a
democrat. If the MPAA's Glickman, a former member of
Congress, can't do it, no democrat can! (Other than maybe the Clintons).

Payback on K Street

THE CORPORATE tax bill that Congress has sent to the White House
rewards just about every special interest that retains a lobbyist in
Washington. Makers of sonar fish finders stand to gain, as do importers
of Chinese ceiling fans, dog-track operators who cater to foreign
gamblers, and Native Alaskan whaling captains. But one lobby did not do
so well, and its identity is revealing. The Motion Picture Association
of America, Hollywood's trade group, had been hoping for $350 million a
year in subsidies, which were written into the Senate version of the
bill as partial compensation for the loss of a bigger export subsidy
that the bill repeals. But the Senate's largesse was cut back to around
$100 million in the final bill that emerged from the House-Senate
conference, leaving the movie industry as the biggest net loser from the
legislation.

Why did the movie studios, which usually lobby with the best of them,
lose out? Perhaps because three months ago they had the temerity to
choose Dan Glickman, a Democrat, to head their trade association. The
congressional Republican leadership, which had the final say on the tax
bill, made no secret of its fury that a plum lobbying job had not gone
to a Republican: Grover Norquist, a close ally of House Republicans,
called Mr. Glickman's appointment "a studied insult," adding that the
movie industry's "ability to work with the House and Senate is greatly
reduced." Commenting on the movie moguls' comeuppance last week, Rep.
Jim McCrery (R-La.) told Brody Mullins of Roll Call that "it's a good
idea to have someone who can communicate with those who are in power,"
and that "[i]t's a consideration that any organization hiring a lobbyist
should take into account."

This suggests that Congress is corrupt not only in the manner in which
it awards prizes to favorite lobbyists, but also in the manner in which
it denies such prizes. By punishing the movie industry for giving its
plushest Washington job to the opposite party, the Republicans are
saying that they want such jobs reserved for their own side, partly so
that they can vacuum up the campaign donations that trade associations
make and partly so that members of their own party can spin through the
revolving door into millionaire nirvana. A few years ago, congressional
Republicans claimed to stand for free-market principles -- for the idea
that government should get out of the way and allow the economy to
reward the innovators and entrepreneurs who fuel progress. But power has
corrupted the party. Now that they are the incumbents, they skew the
economic playing field so as to reward their friends and fill their
campaign treasuries.

The bill that Congress has produced is monstrous in just about every
way. Designed to close a $5 billion-a-year export subsidy that violated
international trade law, it ended by spraying out $140 billion in
business breaks over 10 years. It absurdly rewards tobacco farmers, and
absentee tobacco landlords, without imposing even the minimal regulation
on tobacco that the nation's biggest cigarette maker had agreed to. In
Friday's debate, President Bush said he would discipline Congress in
order to reduce the budget deficit. If Mr. Bush cannot bring himself
to veto this terrible bill, it will be hard to take him seriously.




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