Take Away the Incentive

Lee Drutman’s musing against the scourge of lobbyists is telling in the solution that he fails to consider:

The challenge then is two-fold. One is to figure out ways to make public service more of a career in itself and less of the stepping-stone it is increasingly becoming. This may mean such things as better salaries, better benefits and better hours. The other challenge is to find a way that more groups can get adequate representation in Washington, not just those who can afford to hire the megaphone of an über-connected Trent Lott type. This is much harder.
Perhaps it is time to think about regulating the prices that lobbyists can charge for their services (ideally to achieve some rough parity with government). Doing so would not only provide a more level playing field for different outside groups. It would also help to depress the salaries of lobbyists, and thus reduce the lure of lobbying to public servants. This is, of course, a radical solution. But perhaps drastic times call for drastic measures.

Thus would he further ensure that career politicians have incentive to grow government and otherwise encounter situations in which the career might benefit from that which the country does not, and that the lobbying advantage will go to those able to spend around the regulated lobbying prices (perhaps by electing their lobbyists, as it were). Why is the solution always to grow and solidify the magnet of corruption? To increase the prize? Drutman may have titled his book The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy, but the masses will never benefit from increasing the exclusivity of government.
A better solution would be to shrink it. If the state’s fingers are not on every aspect of local, national, and international life — at least at a centralized level — then organizations have less need of high-priced lobbyists.

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Theracapulas
Theracapulas
13 years ago

Justin,
Not to mention that regulating what lobbyist’s could charge would also severly curtail free speech. This guy ought to contact John McCain with this measure of his, it seems like something after his heart.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

The whole lobbyist-consultant complex has done just as much, if not more, to drive up the cost of government than unions.
But then again, guys in expensive suits with Rolexes don’t make appealing targets for the angst of the talk radio audience.

Theracapulas
Theracapulas
13 years ago

Rhody,
That’s great, you made me laugh today. I guess you don’t think the likes of Guy Dufault and George Nee are lobbyists. You make it seem like the lobbyists and consultants are seperate from the unions.
I think people like you, more than the lobbyists, are the problem.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Thera, I think it’s people like you who want to take this personal and attack anyone who disagrees with your point of view that are the problem.
The BIGGGGGGGG problem.
Your argument about Dufault and Nee was valid enough and didn’t need to be buttressed by a personal attack.

George
George
13 years ago

Hillary, uh I mean Rhody:
Every time you liberals are called on your BS, you cry victimhood.
Good one Theracapulas!

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Nice one, George, er, Thera posting under another alias.

George
George
13 years ago

Wrong, AGAIN, Rhody.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

George/Thera, way to respect Justin’s bandwith.

Theracapulas
Theracapulas
13 years ago

Rhody,
Rest assured, George and I are two different people, you can even ask Justin.
I’m apologize for the personal attack.
But, I’m so sick and tired of peoiple like you who think the government and its regulations can solve all human problems.
Heard the Democrats lately? They think the people who brought us FEMA, border security, and the Federal Reserve (inflationary banking, credit crunch) are going to bring us quality healthcare. (The reason healthcare in the U.S. is in such bad shape is because of the regulations from the American Medical Association and State Medical Boards.)
And get this, the Democrats also want to curtail our industrial economy so they can plan the weather for the next hundred years. (global warming)
Now I read this post, and see a new plan to further curtail the first ammendment by putting price regulations on lobbying. (Again, call John McCain, he can use that in his stump speeches.)
Regulation isn’t the answer to our problems, free markets are.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Apology accepted, Thera. That other fellow, though, I’ll have to think about it. LOL
You can’t put a price tag on free speech, though. If we equate free speech to unlimited spending that enables the moneyed class to retain exclusive control over our economic and political systems, we’re talking oligarchy – I don’t think we want the Russian system here (and I think Putin’s a much bigger threat to us than Adminejad or Chavez – we know Judo Boy has nukes).
An unregulated system could lead to one large economic entity controlling, say, the Internet. You would not want George Soros to hold that kind of power; neither would I want The Carlyle Group to have it.

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