The Conversation

Government: America's top manufactured good

I hope you all enjoyed Recovery Summer Number 5, which was every bit as much of a smashing success as the previous Recovery Summers.  Because even though the public appears to have accepted Obama's pathetic "New Normal," there are growing signs that things are about to get worse.  Hard on the heels of a plunge in the new home market, and some troubling unemployment figures from Gallup, comes a stunning 7.3 percent crash in durable goods.  

Well, at least the Middle East is placid, so there's no danger of economic disruption emanating from there.  And the United States is the world's leading manufacturer of something: government.  It's a good thing so much of the paperwork is electronic these days, or else we'd be deforesting the planet to get the pulp we need to print up all the paperwork.

Case in point: ObamaCare, brainchild of the President who said he wanted to run lobbyists out of Washington.  But like just about everything Barack Obama says, that was just pillow talk for his gullible voters and the media sycophants who worship him.  ObamaCare is the greatest boon for lobbyists in the modern era, a great big glob of regulatory garbage drawing swarms of lobbyist flies.  And it's helping the ruling class live high on the hog, while you poor slobs in the private sector give up looking for a job and think about signing up for food stamps.

The Hill brings us the hot action from our high-rolling aristocrats in an article called "ObamaCare's architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists:"

ObamaCare has become big business for an elite network of Washington lobbyists and consultants who helped shape the law from the inside. More than 30 former administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staffers who worked on the healthcare law have set up shop on K Street since 2010. 

Major lobbying firms such as Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, The Glover Park Group, Alston & Bird, BGR Group and Akin Gump can all boast an Affordable Care Act insider on their lobbying roster — putting them in a prime position to land coveted clients. 

“When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during the signing of the healthcare law] and said to [President] Obama, ‘This is a big f'n deal,’ ” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, “he was right.”

Isn't that swell?  You'll be paying higher premiums, losing your favorite insurance plan, and watching your job scaled back to part-time by your terrified employer... but it's all worth it, because a swarm of paper-pushers can use Obama's crackpot law to cash in big-time.  If you live in Washington, you might be lucky enough to serve them when they dine at the restaurant where ObamaCare has forced you to work 25 hours a week just to pay your rent.

No one should be surprised by any of this.  A process under way for many years accelerated dramatically with Obama's ascension to power, transforming political connections into the most valuable resource in America.  Your business plan can be a ridiculous solar-panel joke, but the right connections to the Royal Court will line your coffers with taxpayer dollars.  Your enterprise could be thriving thanks to careful management and popular demand, but you can be crushed in a instant by regulators, or portrayed as an Enemy of the People because you think you should be allowed to keep what you earned.  Purchasing political influence is mandatory, and it's not cheap.

And, as the Hill article notes, it's very helpful to hire on the people who helped write the maze of insane laws we're all forced to live under, because otherwise your business can easily become lost in them.  Bureaucratic skill - the ultimate waste of productivity - is now more valuable than any productive talent or training.  Never mind the workers, designers, and managers in your organization - you'd better set aside a stack of greenbacks to hire the right compliance officers.  And unlike the private-sector workforce Obama's policies have strangled, the market for well-connected paperwork gnomes is highly competitive:

The voracious need for lobbying help in dealing with ObamaCare has created a price premium for lobbyists who had first-hand experience in crafting or debating the law.

Experts say that those able to fetch the highest salaries have come from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or committees with oversight power over healthcare.

Demand for ObamaCare insiders is even higher now that major pieces of the law, including the healthcare exchanges and individual insurance mandate, are being set up through a slew of complicated federal regulations.

“Congress is easy to watch,” said Tim LaPira, a politics professor at James Madison University who researches the government affairs industry, “but agencies are harder to watch because their actions are often opaque. This leads to a greater demand on K Street” for people who understand the fine print, he said.

Yes, those unaccountable Constitution-shredding Administration agencies certainly are "opaque," aren't they?  You just never know what they'll do.  That's why the American economy is curled up a fetal position, and businesses are unwilling to hire anyone except lobbyists.


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