April 22, 2015
In his new book, “The Business of America Is Lobbying,” Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, provides insight into a crucial element of this power shift. Beginning in the early 1970s, just as support for redistribution began to decline, “corporate America began to devote attention and meaningful resources to politics,” Drutman writes. “The 40-year trend has overwhelmingly moved in one direction: growth. Corporate lobbying expenditures now dwarf the comparable investments of unions” and public interest or citizen groups. From 1998 to 2012, the ratio of corporate/trade association lobbying spending to union/public interest group spending went from 22 to one to 34 to one, Drutman found. “Looking at lobbying in the aggregate, what jumps out is the stark imbalance in resources. Corporations blow everyone else out of the water,” Drutman wrote in a post on April 16 for the Washington Post’s political science blog, Monkey Cage.