Warren’s Corrupt ‘Anti-Corruption’ Plan
Are lobbyists corrupt? Sure, but so are the politicians taking the money and writing the rules.
Elizabeth Warren, who corruptly exploited her own bogus claims of Native American heritage to advance her academic career, has a plan to eradicate corruption from Washington. You might say she wants to borrow a popular refrain to “drain the swamp.”
Warren laments, “In 1958, the National Election Survey first asked Americans a simple question: Do you trust the government to do the right thing most of the time? That year, 73% of Americans said yes. In 2019, that number is just 17%. Five out of every six Americans do not trust their government to do the right thing. Why have so many people lost faith in government?”
The senator blames “right-wing politicians” for spending “a generation attacking the very idea of government,” before launching on her tired refrain about the “wealthy and the well-connected” — of which Warren herself is a prominent member. But we can think of two answers to her question that are intimately related. The first is this admonition from Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address: “A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
The second is that the warning issued by James Madison, author of the Constitution we celebrate today, has come to pass: “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”
Why don’t Americans trust the government? Because it’s doing things poorly that it was never constitutionally empowered to do in the first place. Power, meet abuse. To say so is not “attacking government.” It’s advocating a limited and constitutional one.
Virtually the entire Democrat platform since, oh, about 1958 has been along the lines of the so-called “Great Society” — unconstitutional and failed welfare programs that “take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned,” only to give it to someone who didn’t earn it. Of course, Democrats really began traveling down the “progressive” road with Woodrow Wilson’s income-tax-funded administrative state and stomped on the accelerator with Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” socialism.
Naturally, Warren only doubles down on the Democrats’ top-down, government-control approach. Regulate this, outlaw that, tax the other thing. That’s why it’s almost comical that her plan echoes Barack Obama in its call for “big, structural change to fundamentally transform our government.” How is it fundamental change to do more of what government has spent the last century doing?
In all honesty, we do indeed need a fundamental transformation — one that returns the federal government to its proper, constitutionally limited role. That means things like prioritizing national defense while ceasing the income redistribution that consumes two-thirds of the $4 trillion budget and feeds the very lobbying problem Warren claims to want to eradicate. Warren and her fellow socialists demand even more redistribution programs that would only exacerbate the corruption they claim to want to solve.
As a final thought, the Founders thought the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (e.g., lobbying) was important enough to place in the First Amendment. Yes, lobbyists can be corrupt, but no more so than the politicians and unelected bureaucrats crafting reams of rules dictating everything from what kind of light bulb we use to how much water our toilets flush. Warren’s plan to gut the First Amendment simply because she doesn’t want to hear from lobbyists who oppose such things isn’t removing corruption; it’s adding tyranny.
The late, great Charles Krauthammer wrote this of lobbyists in 2008:
Everyone knows the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. How many remember that, in addition, the First Amendment protects a fifth freedom — to lobby?
Of course it doesn’t use the word lobby. It calls it the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Lobbyists are people hired to do that for you, so that you can actually stay home with the kids and remain gainfully employed rather than spend your life in the corridors of Washington.
To hear the candidates in this presidential campaign, you’d think lobbying is just one notch below waterboarding, a black art practiced by the great malefactors of wealth to keep the middle class in a vise and loose upon the nation every manner of scourge: oil dependency, greenhouse gases, unpayable mortgages and those tiny entrees you get at French restaurants.
Lobbying is constitutionally protected, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it all. Let’s agree to frown upon bad lobbying, such as getting a tax break for a particular industry. Let’s agree to welcome good lobbying — the actual redress of a legitimate grievance — such as protecting your home from being turned to dust to make way for some urban development project. …
Good lobbying … is a cherished First Amendment right — necessary, like the others, to protect a free people against overbearing and potentially tyrannical government.
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