06/29/2005: Thought for the Day:
In the June 22 Washington Post, Jeffrey H. Birnbaum reported that the number of registered lobbyists has "more than doubled." Perhaps you think that refers to the large increase in lobbying activity that began in the 1970s, a long-term trend whose most visible measure has been a proliferation of expensive restaurants in Washington, D.C. (Before 1970, your typical lobbyist's idea of haute cuisine was Blackie's House of Beef or Trader Vic's.) But Birnbaum's statistic actually covers a much briefer time frame. The number of registered lobbyists has doubled--are you sitting down?--since 2000. Let me say that a different way. Since George W. Bush became president, the group of people whose numbers constitute the most reliable index I know of the extent to which government policy is for sale has increased 100 percent. Bush's presidency hasn't done much for the economy nationwide, but in Washington it has produced a gold rush.
Len on 06.29.05 @ 06:23 AM CST