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Editorial March 28, 2013  RSS feed

EDITORIAL

There should be a big FOR SALE sign on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to remind voters that the occupants inside are bought and paid for by whatever group or lobby ponies up the most money for them.

The carnage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. last December—in which a psychotic gunman shot and killed 20 first-graders, six staff members, his own mother and himself—reopened the battle royal on gun control.

The arguments on both side of the issue are strong, and the American citizens looked towards their elected officials in Washington to take some course of action to ensure that weapons of mass murder would not fall into the wrong hands.

There was a call for the reactivation of an assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire in 2004 and more stringent background checks on potential gun owners.

Both seemed to be reasonable ideas, but then came the National Rifle Association (NRA)—with its four million members and loaded bank accounts—which argued that any mere attempt at gun control violates the right to bear arms as written in the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Members of Congress are charged with protecting the American people, but anyone who thought they could do that— even after the horror of the Sandy Hook massacre—was proven dead wrong.

Instead, the members of the Senate showed their true colors— green, as in dollar bills—and wormed their way out of any kind of vote, since a good portion of the so-called lawmakers owe their jobs to the money they receive from lobby groups like the NRA.

The old saying of “the one who has the money, makes the rules” was proved last week by the weak willies in Washington, when the Senate scrapped the assault weapons ban bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was impossible to pass—no doubt because the NRA would have closed their checkbook on those who voted against them.

The NRA spends millions in campaign contributions for those who do their bidding. But what the NRA is spending on their lobbying efforts is a mere drop in the bucket in the total amount spent buying legislators in Washington. They don’t come cheap.

The top five lobbyist spenders in 2012, as listed by the Center for Responsive Politics, were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($136.3 million), the National Association of Realtors (over $41.4 million), Blue Cross/Blue Shield (over $21.9 million), General Electric (over $21.2 million) and the American Hospital Association (over $19.2 million).

Washington lobbyists influence every issue and bill that comes before Congress, from gun control to health care reform, from subprime mortgages to defense contracts. They’ve helped transform Congress into a complete laughingstock incapable of passing anything that comes close to being considered common sense legislation.

Voters may think they have the power with the ballot, but the true power lies with the lobbyists who have cold, hard cash and call the shots for a lot of legislators in Washington.

The gun carnage will continue as long as we allow the seats of Congress to be occupied by harlots.