Tyndmyr wrote:Lobbying is undeniably often problematic, but it's also necessary. The ratio of voters to federal representatives is very high, and is not reasonably practical for representatives to meet with them all constituents, let alone all citizens of the US.
Opinion polls exist. They are much cheaper, accurate and informative than lobbying. They are better than lobbying in every conceivable metric. Lobbying isn't necessary at all.
That is of course if you want to know what voters think. If you want to know what campaign donors think on the other hand...
Not so. First off, how do you know what to poll on? Lobbying lets you know what people are caring about...and thus, what to poll about.
And of course, polling is frequently subject to bias as well. How you write the question can matter a *great* deal, and it's not at all uncommon to see results of polls interpreted poorly/out of context, or for other problems, like sample size or distribution to crop up. Polls can be, and often are, done very, very wrong.
Hell, our voting system is a (crude) type of polling, and it's pretty far from perfect. So, I'd say that your assertion that polls are automatically better in all those ways seriously needs sourcing.
Tyndmyr wrote:The point is, lobbying is available to corporations and non corporations alike. His assumption of an "unfair advantage" is entirely predicated on his conclusion that corporations shouldn't be lobbying...it doesn't really support it.
No. His assumption of an "unfair advantage" is entirely predicated on the fact** that people give money to a corporation so that the corporation can make more/better widgets and then the corporation turns around and uses that money for politics.
Strictly speaking, I give money to corporation for a product. What they do with that money afterwards is out of my control. This is exactly the same as how it works with other organizational forms, like sole proprietorships and the like.
A corporation is different because of why it exists.
A religion exists to promote religion.
The NRA exists to promote National Rifle use.
The EFF exists to promote Electronic Freedom.
A Union exists to promote the United interests.
A corporation exists to promote changes to tax laws?
A corporation exists to promote changes to regulation?
No, Clearly not. A corporation exists to sell a product or service. It makes a big difference.
All organizations exist for the same reason. To grow and perpetuate themselves. Organisms, same, same. How they do this varies between them...and hell, it will vary in the same organization over time.
Oh, Tyndmyr, you are totally
missing an opportunity to go on a rant about how this is a perfect example of why government shouldn't be regulating business, because then there would be not incentive for business to lobby. Get with the program!
Rants are overrated. Everyone needs a way to have their concerns heard, and even in the best possible government, people of all stripes will have concerns and disagreements. Even in a government where say, internal business is not regulated whatsoever(strange as that is to imagine), elements like foreign policy will definitely impact some citizens and businesses. People will always have something to talk to their reps about.
**This is true for places that aren't america. In america a corporation exists to make money. Which is a big problem for what you are saying Dauric. At least for the usa, the people in charge of a corporation are expected to make as much money as they can. When you say, "Allowing corporations the right of free speech as individuals force-multiplies the voices of who are able to make those decisions in that corporation, while leaving those investors that may disagree with that view footing the bill for speech that they may not agree with." If the corporation is paying for political speech, it is to make money. You are an investor to make money. You can't really complain about how you are making money. Can you?
The tl;dr here is that the problem is putting money first. Not lobbying.
Sure you can complain about how money is made. However, historically, it is rare that people have done so. There is no law preventing a corporation from including non financial goals in addition to the usual financial ones. Indeed, some have done so. It hasn't caught on as terribly popular with investors, though. So....this isn't just a few people in charge putting money first. It's just about everyone putting money first. That said, making money is a pretty legitimate interest. We kind of do want our country to be financially successful, and thus, money is a really big deal.
Note that corporations are hardly the only sort of large organization, either. Consider that endowments, trusts, etc are somewhat the opposite of corporations...and are set up by mostly the exact same people. Instead of collecting profits, they disburse them, often to very worthy causes. This is important in two ways. First, it demonstrates that money isn't everything to the people with piles of it. Secondly, it illustrates a very easy mechanism they'd use to continue to fund lobbyists if corporations were banned from funding lobbyists personally. Oh look, it isn't that this oil company is hiring lobbyists to oppose global warming....it's this not for profit doing that, that just so happens to get very generous donations from oil companies.