Tom et al,
Do not worry, no one has upset me. As a matter of fact, the only person who can upset me is: Me, and that has not happened in several decades. And this thread is the most fun I have had in a long time. Unfortunately, I cannot really spend the time to respond as I probably should.
Let me provide some insights on campaign contributions. Yes, many corporations do sponsor PACs and most corporate officers contribute via PACs, not directly to candidates. The reason corporations sponsor PACs is to solicit donations from people who support the company's point of view. The corporation cannot contribute itself, and the individuals are limited to the amounts I posted a few days ago. All of this is to set the record straight as to corporations directly contributing to campaigns, as many Americans assume corporations own the candidates.
Now to address contributions to trade groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce, and many others, and even lobbyists. It happens and it is a LOT of money. I do not advocate, do not try to rationalize or justify it. But I will explain why it happens (and it is legal). Business is so heavily regulated and taxed that the lobbying industry rose from the attempt of business to protect themselves from government. And why would a business have to protect itself in a country where individual rights are guaranteed by law? Without all the regulations and with limited government, there would be no need for any of these lobbying organizations. As a matter of fact, the lobbying industry has become a multi-billion industry in itself!! The president of the US Chamber of Commerce earns almost $4 million per year!! The government created this industry by trying to control the citizens, businesses, and taxing the economy to death.
And how much are all of us being taxed? The following information includes all taxing agencies (city, county, state, and federal) and was recently reported by the Washington Post:
"At the beginning of President Obama's term, government spending made up 35 percent of gross domestic product. Now, it is up to almost 45 percent, which puts us seventh among advanced economies."
No wonder America is in such a mess.
We do not need all the regulation. If a corporation harms someone or a group of people, we have courts to handle this. The regulatory agencies are not needed, as long as we adjudicate objective laws... laws that can be reduced to the protection of individual rights. Not something like the report I heard about a city on the east coast that was going to make it against the law to leave your car unlocked. If a policeman finds an unlocked car, the owner is issued a citation (e.g the car owner is now the criminal). This how they handle the auto theft problem; not go after the criminals, but go after law abiding citizens. Because leaving your car unlocked turns people into criminals. Insanity.
To give you an idea of how crazy it is getting...
In southern California, any company that employs more than 200 people must comply with SCQAMD ride share rules that are administered by the counties (check out Riverside County Ride Share for another bureaucracy). It is up to each company to comply and to "force employees" to use the company ride share solution. If employees refuse (and they do because ride share is often very inconvenient), then the company is fined... and not a monetary fine. They have to purchase "energy credits" from someone who has them to sell; another crazy business that rose from government regulation. Anyone want to be an energy credit broker? Totally crazy. Oh by the way, the Company Ride Share Administrator has to occasionally travel to meetings and training as required and provided by the government agency, and for some companies this means an employee driving over 200 miles round trip... but guess what? There is no ride share for this mandatory meeting, and often no public transportation. Total waste of time, money, fuel, and emissions. Try to argue that with a government bureaucrat.
Several years ago I ran a business that created excess "energy credits." I could have sold them for a "profit," but I refused. Businesses that needed them were mad at me for not selling, and the mousey government bureaucrat was mad at me because they needed me to sell them to support their half-brained system. The mouse told me it was my civil and social responsibility. I told him that I was not in the business of selling energy credits. But he argued that my company would make more money; and I told him that it was money that we did not earn, so we did not want it. I told him that his agency was immoral, and as such why don't they just take them away from us by force, like everything else they want to take from all of us. I imagine those energy credits are floating around somewhere, or the government acquired them by eminent domain or some other scheme.
Do not be confused by all the government agencies. Many of them have their own agendas and many of the bureaucrats (not all of them) are most concerned with more budget, more power, more rules, and career advancement. I have seen too much of it during my business career. Remember the corner gas station many of us grew up with? Today in California if the gas station also repairs vehicles they often have OVER THIRTY licenses and permits. > 30 to run a small business!! And it you live in California, not only are the State Fuel Road Taxes higher than the majority of the states, but you also pay SALES TAX on gasoline, which is not charged in most states. And in California, gas stations are the only business that I know of which has to pre-pay 50% of the sales tax before they even sell it (unless this has changed since I got out of the business a few years ago).
So all of this means they we are consuming much more than we produce. It is irrational to think that a person, society, or government can continue to consume more than they produce and survive. Actually it is a physical impossibility... which means that we are becoming economically, socially, and morally bankrupt.
America and most of the world needs jobs to feed the population. Companies supply the jobs. Take away their excess profits, and they can no longer create innovative products or new jobs. Keep taxing the wealthy and they will reduce charity, consumer spending, and investment. Over a hundred years ago America created wealth that benefited a percentage of its population that had never been seen in history. If we continue this path all of us will be poor. I do not know about everyone else, but I have never been hired by a poor person. I have always been hired by a wealthy person or successful company.